It didn't take a decade in corporate America to show Dale Calvert that he needed to take control of his working future. After three years and a couple of quick promotions at IBM, he had reached a position where it would be a long time before the next chance at advancement. Lucky for him, a friend introduced him to Network Marketing….
I'd been looking for some type of small business to get into for about six or seven months. I knew that when you work for somebody else, your income and lifestyle is tied to the job. You never make what you're worth; you make what your job's worth. Your job is going to create your lifestyle, and I knew that I had to find a way to work for myself. I didn't have any money to start a business. I didn't really have any expertise. Then a friend of mine gave me an audio tape regarding Shaklee, so I went to meeting and got involved.
I felt like Network Marketing was something I could start part-time and just learn and grow with the business. A couple years after I got started, I left IBM and went full-time with Shaklee. That was 18 years ago, and I've never had a paycheck since. I worked Shaklee for five years, then I was with the National Safety Association (NSA), where I was a President's Advisory Council member and National Marketing Director, which was the top position in that company. I actually left a strong six-figure income to start over, day one, with New Image International. The challenge for me, even though I didn't realize it until looking back now, was my age.
I was 20 when I got involved in the industry the first time. It really didn't affect me then, but looking back, it was hard being a 20-year-old kid showing an opportunity to create financial independence to 40- and 50-year-olds. Basically every aspect of this business was a challenge for me in the beginning. Fear of the phone– I had call reluctance. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection and all that that entails. I think it affected me tremendously. It's just a part of the business, it's not a comfortable business. It takes a while to bring the activities into your comfort zone– it certainly did for me. I had to work really hard at it.
Reading the right books, listening to the right audio tapes, and being around successful people within the industry– I think those three things are the only way to get this business into your comfort zone. You've got to put the right programming into your mind, and the books, the tapes, and the people you hang around are what's going to determine that. That's really what I did myself to overcome the challenges of my age and inexperience. When I was at IBM, I was able to have a Walkman to listen to audio tapes for eight hours a day while working.
So that made a major impact, I think, in me being able to get an understanding of the business and controlling my attitude, controlling the fear of rejection, the fear of failure. Those tapes made a major impact on my future, really. I believe there are two keys to my success. Number one, I believe very strongly in what I call unified duplicatable training systems. In this industry you have masses of distributors who follow this person for a while, and then they follow somebody else for a while, and then somebody else comes into their town and does a seminar and they try to do it that way for a while.
People are just all over the place trying to figure out how to do this business. I came to realize you have to set up your training system just like a McDonald's sets up their hamburger business: Everything is very unified, it's very duplicatable. If you go into any McDonald's, the fryer is always on the left and that's the way we teach our business. We have very specific systems that we teach for retailing our product, for recruiting new distributors. We all send the same follow-up packets, we all do and say the same thing. We are unified in our approach and in our training, and I think that has absolutely been the key.
Going back to McDonald's, if you think about it, there are multi-million-dollar businesses that are basically being run by teenagers, and the reason they can do that is because it is so duplicatable. The other thing, without question, is that your long-term success in this industry depends upon you not worrying about your success. Just help enough other people become successful, and really mean it in your heart. It builds a bond and a loyalty with your people.
That's being what I call value-focused, instead of income-focused or survival-focused. You're value-focused on your distributors and their success, and the success of their families. That has built for me, over the years, a very loyal group of people. We've kind of grown up together in this industry. I have some people who have been with me a long, long time. We'll be together for the rest of our lives, and I think that's really the key.
People need to understand that this is about relationship development, and that's the only place your security is going to come from. My underlying philosophy in everything that I do is that if you build people, people will build the business. I believe our true product in this industry is not vitamins, or herbs, or water filters, or anything like that. Our true product is people. Once the industry understands that, and we start focusing on developing people, then the business will build automatically. I guess because the business was so tough for me in the beginning, such an emotional rollercoaster, I understand how the masses think.
I know what the right books and tapes and people have done for me, and I know what they will do for others. If you can concentrate on helping people develop confidence and skills first, if you touch somebody's life, it builds a bond and a loyalty to you and to your program. Bottom line, if you build people, people will build the business. The best thing about Network Marketing is seeing people that you've laughed with, cried with, argued with, who've paid the price, who've you've personally worked with, walk across the stage and achieve the top position in the company.
It's almost like seeing your children achieve. For me, that's a feeling that only this industry can give you. Corporate America certainly can't. That really gets down to where I live– it really hits where I come from. DALE CALVERT is the #1 distributor and Director of Marketing (the top positions in the company) for New Image, marketers of nutritional products and a soon-to-be online Balanced Living Mall featuring seven categories of life enhancement products. Dale has been with the company for five years. He and his wife Stephanie live in Georgetown, KY, with their daughters Brittanie, 15, Channing, 13, and Allie, 9.