Are You Poor or Just Broke?
by Rick Chitwood
I think we’ve all said to ourselves at one time or another, “Success just happens to the other guy and not me” for whatever reason. But it happened for me, and it can also happen for you!
So let me share my story of how I’ve supported my family for the past 31 years solely on my MLM income and illustrate one successful approach to this great industry that may help you attain your dreams of success.
My professional career started in 1963 when I entered the computer industry during the “Tab Card” days. For the next few decades I held every position available in that industry from Data Entry to being President of two companies.
In 1986 I was the CEO of a successful computer software company looking for investment capital to expand my business, and to make a long story short, I met a potential investor who turned out to be a con-man; consequently loosing everything I had. I lost my home, my life savings, and my business and had to pull two daughters out of college and knowing that I could not send my son, who was a senior in high school, to college the following year.
By the time the legal battles subsided and the lawyers produced their bills, that con-man left me over $500,000 in debt. That was the worst time in my life, but the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
I learned then, that there was a huge difference between being poor and being broke. Poor people will always be poor because it’s an attitude, but broke is a temporary circumstance. Poor people whine and feel sorry for themselves and do nothing to change their lot in life, but broke people look for solutions to their problems.
Walt Disney and Donald Trump were broke many times, but they always found other avenues to turn their desperate situation around to make it a win.
Broke is when you have nothing and I was $500,000 below broke! I desperately needed to find a solution to my financial destitution, and one day that solution came to me in an unexpected way. I really believe God never closes one door without opening another and he opened a door to me.
At that time in my life someone who had been a good friend I had not seen for over 30 years came back into my life. After talking about old times, I shared my story with him and he invited me to a meeting that night and most likely said that he could offer a solution to my problems. Fortunately he didn’t say any more than that or I may not have accepted his invitation to find out more.
I had nothing to lose at that point, so my wife Dianne and I went to the meeting. At the meeting the host drew circles on a flip chart and outlined a way to leverage your time and make lots of money by helping other to do the same. He explained that you did not need to be a salesperson; you only need to care about helping others.
Residual and Passive Income:
About 15 minutes into that meeting I leaned over to Dianne and said, “I can do this”. Although that was my first exposure to MLM I was immediately and totally sold on the concept of working hard to build an organization of people whom I helped to duplicate my success and result in passive and residual income. Wow! I had never seen anything like this, and it was something I could do!
As a teenager I ran around with Bobby Helms who had recorded three Gold Records. He went into a recording studio in the 1950’s and recorded a few songs and lived off the residual income for the rest of his life. (Ever heard the song “Jingle Bell Rock?”.) Now here was a way I could get paid over and over for doing something one time just like Bobby. I got excited about the possibilities.
My mind was made up and I asked for an application after the meeting, but ran into a minor problem. The sign up fee was $1,540. I didn’t have $10, let alone $1,540. We were still $500,000 in debt and neither of us had a source of income.
I knew that a poor person would have said, “I can’t afford it.” but a broke person would find a way to make it happen. As Robert Kiyosaki wrote in one of his books, “Don’t say I can’t afford it.” but ask, “How CAN I afford it?”
I had just discovered the solution to my financial problems and the only thing standing between me and financial independence was $1,540. That was a lot of money in 1986, but it was not enough to detour me from doing what needed to be done for my family.
So I did what I believed to be the logical solution to a “minor” problem. I wrote a check for $1,540 and asked them to hold the check until Friday. I knew I was going to cover the check and make this work; I just didn’t have any idea how to do it yet.
As I have often done in my life, I asked myself what was the worst case scenario and could I live with that? I was $500,000 in debt and the worst case scenario was that I would be $501,540 in debt. How stupid would I have been to let such a small thing be the difference between being poor and financial independence?
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds wrote, “There are three things to understand about opportunities.
1- They don’t come along often.
2- You must be able to recognize it is an opportunity.
3- You must take action.
And I had all three bases covered.
That night was the turning point in my life. I spent the next two days trying to raise the $1,540 by finding things to sell, collecting aluminum cans, asking everyone I knew for help. That wasn’t easy, but I knew I’d never do what I needed to do to be a success as long as I stayed in my comfort zone. I finally found someone who would loan me the $1,540; my second cousin’s husband.
After I covered the check that I had written three days earlier at the meeting, I set out to be a success!….
I didn’t set out to try to make a little money; I set out to build a successful business. And although I knew nothing of the MLM industry, there was something I knew and developed that I’ve shared with many for the past 31 years.
Choose your Mentors wisely!
I knew that if I wanted to be successful, the only logical thing to do was to learn from successful people. Unlike most people who start in the industry, I didn’t look for MLM advice from my plumber or someone who had never been successful. I did not seek out people who had multiple failures in the industry who had an endless supply of stories about why MLM does not work. Instead I looked for those people in the company who were doing it right and making it work. I contacted them and asked them how they built their business and told them that I wanted to duplicate everything they did.
I had no intention of trying to reinvent the wheel so I put my ego aside and became very teachable. I would never have become a leader if I was not willing to first choose good leaders and in turn be a good follower.
I have used that approach in everything I’ve ever done. “If you have not achieved the success I desire, I am not interested in your opinions.” There are a lot of books, and systems and coaches out there who have never themselves achieved success using the systems they are more than willing to teach to you. If you really want to achieve success, find a true leader who achieved his/her success using proven, duplicable methods. Be coachable, have a strong reason why, and make a commitment to do whatever it takes.
The majority of my mentors in this industry were leaders that were not from my upline. However they were willing to share their knowledge and experience with me while never receiving any financial benefit for helping me. The only way I could pay them back was to use the knowledge they had given me to become a leader myself, then in turn mentor others, and share my knowledge.
So at a national convention, in front of the entire audience, I vowed to pay back everyone who had helped me by “Paying it Forward” and help others without concern as to how it would benefit me.
I had been in MLM for one week and had covered the check I had borrowed. I read the books, listened to the cassette tapes and spoke with some of the most successful people in the industry. Then I did something else too few people do. I not only read the books and obtained the training; I actually put what I had learned to work instead of making excused why it won’t work and I can’t do it.
At the end of the second week, I received a commission check for $4,800. I paid my cousin his $1,540 and went to work for the next week where I earned more than $5,000. And within nine months, I was recognized as one of the top income earners in the company.
For various good reasons I have made several moves in the industry. I have been a top income earner in multiple MLM companies as well as a consultant in the industry traveling for three years in my 41’ diesel pusher Motor Coach from coast to coast to my favorite vacation spots doing “Dream Catcher” MLM seminars along the way.
And with my computer background, I have designed and developed compensation plans and have been a paid consultant to evaluate comp plans for MLM companies.
When I look back on it all, the best thing that ever happened to me in my life was meeting that con-man about 31 years ago.
I have been totally broke and lost my business, home, and life savings and I’ve been with several MLM companies that went out of business. But I have never failed. Each of those experiences has been a valuable education to help me make better decisions in the next venture.
I spend a lot of time sharing my experience with others and trying to help others benefit from my experience in hopes of helping them to be successful in their own companies. It is very rewarding to me when I find people who appreciate what I have to share, and very frustrating when people waste their valuable time arguing with me about how wrong I am.
Nothing I teach are opinions or theories, only what I have learned from very successful people with proven approaches that work. They are definitely not the only way to build the business, and others with different methods should not be threatened, but they are proven to work for a lot of people.
I hope my story has motivated someone out there to look at this industry a little differently. If you are looking for negatives in this industry, you will find them, just as you will find negative in any industry. However, if you are looking for positives in this industry, it will be much easier than finding negatives.
In closing, here are a few key points for you to consider-
1 – When I discovered this industry, I learned that it was a way to build a huge passive and residual income by leveraging your time by helping others. You don’t build residual income by recruiting large numbers of people. You build residual income by having successful people in your downline. My focus has always been on duplication, and helping my downline to be successful. You need three generations of success in your downline before your residual income is secure. You need to teach your teachers to teach their teachers to teach. If you do all of the recruiting instead of teaching others, when you quit, and your income dries up. Then you blame the industry rather than your approach. If you have three generations of success in your downline, it more likely to continue to grow when you quit rather than to dry up.
2 – Treat it like Network Marketing not Sales. This has been one of my largest frustrations in the industry. People join an MLM company and think it is sales. If you are a great salesperson you will probably be able to recruit a lot of people. Problem is that 95% of the people you recruit will not posses your sales skills. It is not duplicable. Not everyone can duplicate your sales skills. In every company where I was a top income earner it was not because of my recruiting skills. It was because I had been able to help more people in my downline build six figure incomes than anyone else. Several years ago at an annual convention, awards were given for various achievements. The top recruiter that year had personally recruited more than 750 people. I was nowhere near the top recruiter. In fact, I had recruited less than half that number in a total of 8 years with the company. However, I was the top income earner and made more than five times the annual income of the top recruiter.
3 – Tools are duplicable, people are not. If you are a great presenter, and public speaker and a great salesperson, that is almost impossible to duplicate. Whenever someone tells me they are the world’s best salesperson, I tell them not to worry; they can still be successful in MLM if they are teachable and willing to learn. Every time you make one of your incredible presentations and have all the answers to all of the questions, you will find a lot of people who can see themselves as a customer of your great product, but they can never see themselves duplicating your presentation or sales skills. You actually scare more people away than you attract. However you may end up with a lot of recruits and temporary customers. If you use tools to make your presentations and train your people to use tools to present and train, they can duplicate that. They will see that they can use the same tools to build your business that you used to attract them. Example of tools are: CD’s, brochures, videos, 3-way calls, conference calls, recorded messages, webinars, meetings, etc.
There are many ways to build a successful business which are different than my story or the ideas I’ve shared with you. I am not saying they are wrong, but, here are just a few options that have proven effective in my success.
Rick – Paying it Forward