“My Amway Story”: From MIT to MLM
My MLM story is in so many ways, like most others in the industry with some gapping caveats.
I, Ferny Ceballos, was raised in a poor immigrant family and I was born and raised in the East Los Angeles area, in California. For the most part, I was a straight A student, despite growing up around street gangs and generally unruly kids and adults. A testament to good parenting, but also making tough choices when I was a kid to avoid trouble.
My dad passed away when I was 13 of a sudden stroke and my family went from being poor to poorer. My mom, being a stay at home mom, remained a stay-at-home mom to keep the family grounded and our family survived on Social Security Survivors Benefits until my sisters and I turned 18.
In High School, I played Varsity Football, took the maximum number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes I could, I competed in the Academic Decathlon, worked a part-time minimum wage job at Chuck E Cheese and graduated with a 4.1 GPA.
I didn’t sleep very much during the week, due to the fact that I rarely quit anything I started. I have a thing about finishing what you start, which has been a big part of why I succeed at most things I take on.
By chance, I applied to MIT, not really knowing what a HUGE deal that institution actually was. I also applied to other top schools and I was accepted to Notre Dame, UCLA and MIT.
I was accepted into MIT a few months later and received a call the next day, inviting me to come visit the campus. I was flown out to MIT for a Campus Preview weekend and had the time of my life there. I mailed the acceptance letter while still on the MIT campus during that weekend.
Developed Skills Trumps Natural Talent:
It’s no exaggeration that MIT is full of geniuses — it literally is! But it is also full of normal kids who work INSANELY hard to get through each and every assignment, class, exam, etc.
My first couple years at MIT, I hardly engaged in discussion or debate. My brain literally wasn’t ready to think on the level of some of my peers and I spent a lot of time just listening so I could catch up. My brain needed to generate new neural pathways so I could even hold a conversation and reason like some of these kids. Ultimately, however, I became very vocal and held quite a few leadership positions in my fraternity and other groups – one of which was an “over spending” social chair. (Came in handy for No Excuses events later)
Interestingly enough, I became the #1 recruiter for my fraternity during Rush Week, because I was one of the few who was actually willing to pick up the phone and cold call prospects. With practice, I got pretty good and was responsible for recruiting over half of each pledge class for the last 2 years I was there.
At MIT, as a freshman, was the first time I was ever SOLD on “The Dream”. MIT was the school that produced the world’s tech millionaires and even if you just got a job, you would be set for life or so they said. They made you feel special and people generally do treat you a little special when they find out you graduated from there.
After graduation I went to work in the Defense Industry as an engineer, working on secret, top secret and special clearance programs. The majority of my experience was with space programs for missile defense, but also worked on fighter jet radars.
One of the programs I worked on was the version of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was NOT used to look at the stars, but rather to look at Earth… if you catch my drift.
However, as cool as all that sounds, after my first week, I knew I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life. It was a pretty unfulfilling existence, inundated with paper work, rather than doing actual engineering 90% of the time.
Plus, I found myself not making the money I wanted and living paycheck to paycheck. Not at all “The Dream” that was sold to me at MIT. Sure I drove a nicer car and could afford more stuff than my family could growing up, but I was still a corporate slave, waking up before I wanted to wake up each morning, driving in frustrating morning traffic and lobbying for a measly 3% raise each year.
I started searching for a way out…
I went to grad school at USC for my Masters Degree, thinking that it could lead to opportunities that could bet me out of my job and I even considered doing a PhD program. (Talk about trying to get yourself out of a hole, by digging!)
1 1/2 years into my Masters, I was invited to check out an opportunity to work with a “start up” business by Raymond Fong. The guy we were meeting with was a Cal Tech Triple Major Graduate, so naturally I was thinking we were going to talk about starting a tech company.
It turned out to be a presentation for Amway (Quixtar at the time).
As much as I hated the idea of selling, recruiting and peddling house hold products… and not to mention the embarrassment I would feel when my “professional” buddies found out… I hated the idea of staying at my job for the rest of my life that MUCH more!
So I swallowed my pride, signed up, took a couple weeks to develop a strategy and then got to work.
Never Quit: Challenges Leads to Growth:
First month recruited a handful of people including my cousin into the business made some money and got others started. Over the course of my first year in Amway, I actually personally recruited a couple dozen people into my team and a few of them duplicated.
I later realized what an impossible task I had accomplished by getting even that far, given the Amway brand that weighed down the business.
A big part of my recruiting strategy was leveraging my credibility as an engineer and MIT pedigree – essentially, “I’m smarter and more successful than you, so you should listen to me”.
Ok, I conveyed it, but didn’t exact say it – but the message got across.
However the key to my personal success, was also the major flaw in the business. My approach was not duplicatable and my people struggled, therefore eventually my growth came to a screeching halt and I struggled too.
I was introduced to some incredible personal growth and development training to strengthen my resolve through the tough times, which was critical to my transformation to becoming an entrepreneur. I was introduced to John Maxwell, Napolean Hill, Robert Kiyosaki and countless titans of mindset. It’s a total shift in how you view the world, how it works and accepting complete and total responsibility for everything that happens in your life, which includes choosing how much money you’d like to make.
For my first 2 years in the business, I didn’t listen to the radio as I drove to and from work. I would listen to books on tape, training CDs and literally anything business and marketing related I could get my hands on.
Religion and Business Don’t Mix:
However the good was diminished by the alienating culture of the motivational organization I was a part of. (Note: This is not a reflection on Amway as a company, as I know for a fact that there are many very cool and progressive training organizations. This is simply my experience with this particular group.)
Anyway, I was unfortunate enough to be in one of these groups and they proselytized a form of Southern Evangelical Christian Ultra Right Wing Conservatism which made me very uncomfortable, as it did many of the people I brought into the business and totally destroyed the credibility of the opportunity, by making it seem more like church. Most of their events were all about hype and religion, where it seemed as if their primary purpose was not to teach you how to grow your business, but to indoctrinate you into their religious and political belief system. If they had time at the end, they might teach you a thing or two about prospecting or recruiting.
Faith plays a crucial role in most people’s lives including myself, but I also believe that when you are talking business to strangers, religion should not be a part of it, unless it is a mutual value you share and certainly not with the intent to convert.
“You’ll love the business and the product. It’s $200 to get started… and by the way, have you found Jesus?!”
The Difference Between Systems and Bullshit:
That aside, on a business level, the motivational organization talked a whole lot about “the system” it provided for recruiting and duplication, but rarely provided any solid training on how it’s done. Their idea of duplication was telling you “It’s not selling, it’s sharing. Just share and bring more people to the next meeting”.
So I was at a cross-roads in my business. My group was shrinking, I wasn’t really recruiting anyone anymore, I hated the hyped-up revival cult meetings and the reputation of Amway started to be a real problem but quitting wasn’t an option. So what should I do?
For some reason, I was searching online and saw an ad on Google about recruiting “10 – 20 people per day”. I clicked on it and arrived on a capture page and a line in the copy really resonated with me.
“… even if you are the last guy still stuck in Amway!”
I’m like, “that’s me!”
I opted in and purchased Mike Dillard’s Magnetic Sponsoring for $37. My life and business transformed forever from that point on…
Quitting for Business Reasons is NOT Quitting:
For the first time, someone in this industry was making sense and my MIT brain resonated with the concept of scientific marketing (aka direct response marketing) for lead generation and recruiting. Mike through his course, spoke to me like an adult and taught me that being a professional recruiter, marketer and business builder should be something that is scientific, measurable, systematic and based on the overwhelming value you have to offer the world, not on what you are trying to convince others to do.
Over Hyped MLM Revivals = Bullshit
Trying to Convince Negative People to Join You = Bullshit
Living Your Life in Constant Recruiting Mode = Bullshit
Making Your Company Your Religion = Double Bullshit
You are in business and if the culture and business practices of a company are impeding your profitability, then it’s time to move on.
You can love your upline, love the products and be grateful for the personal growth you gained from a particular organization, but if you are NOT making money and there’s no reasonable strategy to change that, then it’s time to thank your upline for the good they’ve done for you and move on.
That’s not to say that you won’t have challenges even with a good strategy. But your strategy can’t be based on hope and uncertainty.
That’s also not an excuse to be an opportunity jumper. There’s a fine line between being an opportunity jumper who blames your company for your lack of success and choosing to move to something else, after careful analysis.
Your company is just one part of your overall business plan and should be easily replaced with minimal disruption to your income, if things don’t work out.
Professionals Don’t Prey, They Qualify:
Learning Attraction Marketing from Mike Dillard and Tim Erway, transformed the way I thought about selling, recruiting, lead generation and making money. It went from being a highly stressful process of convincing idiots to join my opportunity to a pain-free unemotional sequence of steps you took leads through to qualify and collect a decision with.
Yes or No, it didn’t matter.
You knew that a certain percentage would say YES and a certain percentage would say NO — and it was for the most part, automated. And you learned how to monetize the NOs, while you focused on serving the YESes.
You Get Back What You Invest:
Soon after committing myself to becoming a direct marketer and seller, my business partner, Raymond Fong and I, joined forces and started implementing as we went, while investing HEAVILY in our education as marketers which resulted in the 7-figure annual business we own today.
We both attended college and grad school at the world’s most prestigious academic institutions and knew that a valuable education could at times be very expensive.
We invested 6-figures in a college education to earn a 6-figure annual income as engineers.
This time however, we invested with the movers and shakers of the online and network marketing world and not in college degrees.
We made these investments responsibly and like college, the investment was more than we hard earned at the time.
After the initial $37 investment in Magnetic Sponsoring, it continued with investing in home study and online course for a few hundred dollars.
We made a few hundreds back and then invested a few thousand dollars.
We implemented and then made a few thousand back.
After we made our first $25,000 from home, we dove head first into a $60,000 coaching/consulting program.
That investment lead to a $700,000 haul the following year!
The more we invest, the more we grew and we’ve discovered that investing while pushing the boundaries of what you can afford is often part of what is required. I’ve never met a multi-six figure and seven figure earner who hasn’t.
Today, our business is a bonafide 7-figure annual business and grows by 25% – 50% every year, because we continue to invest.
That’s what a professional does.
Needless to say we are no longer engineers and enjoy the freedom, most only fantasize about.
The “How To” of what we’ve done is contained within our training courses we’ve released over the years and definitely everything that’s been taught at the No Excuses Summit for the past 3 years.
No Excuses is a mega live training event we founded in 2010 to expedite the learning process by having the best in the world teach you what is responsible for their success.
This writing can probably go on for another 100 pages on what we did to become one of the few 7-figure earners in the home business industry, but I think at this point, it’s time for you to experience the world that’s led to the millions we’ve earned, the millions our students have earned and begin to write your own story.
Be at the next No Excuses Summit and I promise you, it will change your life!
We look forward to seeing you there.
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