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Life Leadership and Orrin Woodward
I don’t know if you’re like me, but as a kid growing up I was mesmerized with The Guinness Book of World Records. The whole concept of setting a “World Record” was fascinating, and so were those women with the really long nails or that guy who was eleven foot tall. I remember laughing at all the obscure records and categories, and wondered who would be crazy enough to do most of those things.
Then a friend of mine (who shall, for the time being, remain anonymous. Let’s just call him some guy (spelled Sum Gui)) suggested that for a promotional idea for the release of Orrin Woodward‘s new book, And Justice for All: The Quest for Concord, that he (Orrin, not Sum Gui) should break the record for the number of books signed in one sitting. As soon as he made the recommendation, all my childhood memories of looking through friends’ Guinness books came flooding back to me. My initial reaction was, “Is that stuff real?” But then, having lived a few years here and there, I realized that, of course, it was real, and quickly deduced that there must be a real company somewhere that kept track of these things and made sure they were “official.”
Realizing that Sum Gui had come up with a really good idea, we quickly found out that the previous record was held by a guy (different guy from Sum Gui) named Sammy Lee from China, who signed 4,649 books in January of 2013. We also learned that, yes, in fact, Guinness had a process for all this, and you could get the services of their “adjudicator” to bless the proceedings and declare them official (assuming that you did, in fact, set a new record).
All it would take was thousands of people, a book to sign, and a signer willing to subject himself to the grueling marathon of signing book after book for hours on end.
Orrin Woodward would be perfect!
All we’d have to do is make sure he felt sufficiently challenged, and then, as everyone who knows him knows, there would be no way he would quit until victorious. So we promptly told him about our idea, that it would be a fun way to launch his new book, and that we were quite sure he could never do it (this works in basketball, too, if you ever happen to play against him. Just trash talk him a bit and you’re toast). So voila! We had ourselves an “Official Guinness Record Attempt!”
And would you believe it? Orrin broke the record without taking even one of his allotted five minute breaks, and he did it in less than half the time of the previous record holder! But that wasn’t the end. Orrin continued on until he had not only broken the record, but shattered it! The final official count was 6,786 books!
Now, if I could only think of some kind of record to break . . . maybe I’ll start growing my nails . . . .
Your Life is Your Business
John Wooden, record-setting coach of the UCLA basketball team and one of the most successful coaches in any sport, wrote, “Activity – to produce real results – must be organized and executed meticulously. Otherwise, it’s no different from children running around the playground at recess. Time, used correctly, is among your most potent assets. For many leaders, however, it seems otherwise. The months, weeks, and minutes are ill defined and almost intangible in their minds, evaporating without leaving a trace of achievement behind. In the mind of those leaders whose organizations get things done, time is tangible, a commodity as touchable as gold. The success of my leadership was directly linked to using time wisely. Respect time, and it will respect you.”
This is personal management of the highest magnitude. Note that any consideration of personal management necessarily involves a focus on what you are doing with your time. But it also involves other aspects, such as how you think, the management of your attitude, and your overall hunger to accomplish your purpose.
There are a few practical things to seek out in order to maintain the highest level of personal management, and thereby keep yourself fully locked into productive life habits:
- Informational Reinforcement – to stay sharp and continue learning and growing, one needs to be plugged into a source of information pertaining to the craft at hand. Read all you can about your pursuit. Listen to audio recordings as well. Peruse trade magazines and familiarize yourself with any and all websites of authority pertaining to your field. Find out if there are events or symposiums, concerts or competitions that you can attend and use as educational experiences. Gathering and digesting all the information you can get your hands on for your particular area of chosen mastery will keep you fresh and be a shortcut forward in your development.
- Relational Reinforcement – There is an old joke that goes like this: “Two idiots and one genius go into a room together. After a period of time, out come three idiots.” Beyond being funny, it clearly demonstrates the power of association with others. Choose your associations wisely (as the wrong ones can be incredibly wrong). Make sure you are hanging around with people who are experts in the endeavor you are pursuing. Find yourself a Mr. Miyagi and wash the heck out of his car, sand his floors until they shine, and paint his fence like Tom Sawyer’s friends. The reinforcement you get from mentors and experts in your field will quiet the voices of dissent around you who don’t understand what you’re doing or why.
- Self-Talk – in one of the odder techniques available, many of the top masters in their fields long ago had to learn to stop listening to themselves and instead begin talking to themselves. This is because our minds are quickly capable of “going negative” on us, and, believe it or not, our own words to ourselves are very powerful. For this reason, practice the art of positive self-talk. This can be done through affirmation statements and memorized phrases of encouragement (Bible verses are also good for this) to keep yourself focused and provide a quick re-centering when your wheels begin to wobble.
In 1923 a member of the board of directors for Lloyd’s Bank in London asked a literary expert at a party: “You may know of one of our employees who is, I understand, a poet. Mr. Eliot.”
To which the reply was given: “Indeed I do. He is a very remarkable poet.”
“I am glad to hear it. He is also most proficient in banking. Indeed, I don’t mind telling you that, if he goes on in his present way, he will one day be a senior bank manager!”
Thankfully for fans of literature the world over, T.S. Eliot didn’t settle merely for what he could become, but instead pressed forward to what he should become.
We have discussed the elements of meaning and scandal as they relate to leaving a legacy. These two opposite poles should be ever present in our minds as we live out our lives. We should strive to matter as much as we possibly can, and guard ourselves against the inevitable temptations that would come along and cheapen our accomplishments. But leaving a legacy is much more complex and multi-faceted than all of that. There are other elements that must be part of the mix. Primary among these is originality. There are many things we can do, but probably only one that we were born to do.
Your Personal Brand
It happened to you and it’s uniquely yours. No one else has your story. No one else has your particular mixture of experience and ability. Not only did God make you unique in all your parts, but also the life he lets you live is just as uniquely yours. Nobody else experiences the world in exactly the same way as you. These concepts are important to understand, because they form the basis of your personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is whatever you do or bring to the world that is entirely and uniquely yours. Perhaps surprisingly, the more you stick to what is uniquely yours and the more authentic you are in what you do, the more interesting it is to others and the more marketable it is.
Allow me to give an example.
My wife Terri Brady is a very interesting person with a compelling personal brand. Beyond all the foundational things that attracted me to her back in our college days (her love of the Lord, her values and her upbringing, her beauty, her courage, her playfulness, her native intelligence, her musical gifts, and above all, her undeniable wisdom in choosing me!), she has lived an incredibly interesting and inspiring life. Her list of brand experiences include prolonged infertility, surviving a life threatening brain tumor, engineering degree and work experience, home schooling four children, a consistent record of physical fitness, mastery of multiple musical instruments, dedication to serving in the name of Christ, leading and mentoring many other women, high level entrepreneurship and business ownership, fabulous public speaking to audiences around the world, a very popular blog, not to mention being married to a rascal like me!
In addition to these unique experiences, many of which were beyond her control, the way in which she carried herself through them is even more impressive. The trials came without complaint, and the victories came without conceit. If you wrap all these things together you’ve got one incredible woman with a lot to share. All of these pieces together comprise Terri’s personal brand. They make her interesting. They give weight to what she teaches. They give power to what she says.
Now, what would happen if Terri tried to teach people about scuba diving? Or produce a product focused on fashion? It wouldn’t work. It’s simply not her. It doesn’t fit her brand, and people would sense it subconsciously, rejecting it as false or insincere.
The purpose of this example (beyond a shameless ploy to get points with my wife) is to demonstrate that who we are at the core, in the most authentic version of ourselves, is what we should focus on bringing to the world. When you do precisely that, you will be the most fulfilled. It’s when you are doing exactly what you were built to do with the specific gifts God gave you that you feel the most alive. Any time you stray away from this reality you feel less yourself, less alive, less real. Further, though, it is when you strike this authentic chord that the world takes notice. People only want the best you have to offer, nothing less.
The Margaritaville Concept
Jimmy Buffett is an overwhelmingly successful musician and entertainer. He has attracted a following of fanatical fans who dress up in crazy costumes and follow him around on concert tours. He has sold millions and millions of dollars worth of music and books. He has a string of successful restaurants and a clothing line. He even has a channel on satellite radio! Over the course of more than four decades,
Jimmy Buffett has assembled a massive entertainment empire. And really, when it gets right down to it, he did it all with just one song.
If you listen to Buffett’s early music, you will notice that it doesn’t really match his brand. Most of the songs are serious, the topics are ordinary, and it’s obvious that in those early days he hadn’t really struck the chord of his true authentic gift, of his personal brand that would someday delight millions. Brent Webster, a musician friend from Buffett’s very early days, said about how badly Buffett wanted to break into the music scene: “The impression was, he was trying too hard. His exuberance preceded him.”
Twenty-six record companies rejected Buffett. Capitol Records executive Joe Allison said of Buffett in those days, “He pitched some stuff to me, but it wasn’t anything I could ever use. His stuff is so off the wall it’s hard to think of somebody else doing it. He didn’t write like everybody else, he was really different.”
As soon as Buffett released the song Margaritaville (originally to be titled Wastin’ Away Again in Margaritaville, but changed by Buffett at the last minute), he had found his authentic swing – an escapism genre that whisked people away from their cold, boring lives and put them in the warm tropical sun. According to Steve Eng, “Jimmy’s deepening commitment to Caribbean imagery was at once separating him from mere country-rock and from new-hippie folkpop. By the mid-Seventies, Jimmy was setting, not following, a musical trend.” The song Margaritaville would win the 1977 BMI pop award, the 1978 country award, and the “Three Million Air Award” for that number of radio plays that year. All of this was pretty impressive, but it was only the beginning. The most important part was that Buffett had not only struck upon his true, original gift, but he quickly recognized it. Ever since, with each and every album, song, book, restaurant, and clothing line, Buffett has exploited this very original personal brand.
The image we get here is of an ambitious young musician working hard to make it, searching for his particular and unique personal brand, and then gradually combining all the elements of his life interests into his music. Eng wrote, “Jimmy claims that the Florida Keys theme of his albums wasn’t planned, it just evolved naturally.” It may have evolved, but once it did, and he discovered this original niche, he built upon it relentlessly.
Imagine going to a Jimmy Buffett concert. You take in the enthusiastic crowd; you sing along with some of the songs, you feel relaxed and happy as you too escape to the islands for a few fun figurative moments. But what would happen if Buffett finished up his concert and failed to play the song Margaritaville? You would not only feel disappointed, you’d feel cheated. Buffett has to perform that song at every concert because it is the classic embodiment of his personal brand, and Buffett, being the consummate entertainer and crowd pleaser, knows this better than anyone.
This principle applies everywhere. How disappointed would people be if Stephen King came out with a marriage book? Or if Dave Barry released a serious novel? Or if Michael Jordan left basketball to play, I don’t know, let’s say baseball? These people, and every successful person in every walk of life, have succeeded by finding their true authentic gift and then giving it over and over again with gusto.
Which brings us back to you.
What is (or could be) your unique brand?
What are your particular foundational gifts?
What are your unique experiences?
How have you grown as a result, and what can you give out of it?
What innate talents has God given you that are yours?
What makes you feel the most alive?
What makes you feel the most fulfilled?
What things do you do that seem to bring the most accolades from people?
What could be your Margaritaville?
The key is to know yourself, to know what you have. You may not be able to answer these questions just yet, and as was true for the entertainers we have considered in this chapter, it might take years for you to discover. But I guarantee that if you answer these questions and package all of this together, you will be at least heading in the right direction. Knowing that you should be looking to discover this idea about yourself is a great starting point.
Whether this means you will write books, blog, create music, speak on stages, preach, start a company, paint, organize something, play sports, become a surgeon, lead a charity, invent a new technology, or whatever, if you line things up to be a product of who you are and what you uniquely can contribute, you will succeed. You may not be a musician, but you’ve got your own, original figurative song to sing. You may not do what you do in the public eye, but you still have a personal brand to be discovered and built upon. I truly believe that everyone has his own Margaritaville waiting to be discovered. By this, I mean that you will find meaning and fulfillment in contributing something that only you can contribute.
Don’t live anyone else’s life for even a minute. Live yours. It’s unique. Find your Margaritaville and then sing it with all you’ve got until you can’t sing anymore. Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, said, “. . . what this spun-out, overhyped world is absolutely famished for is a little genuine personality.”
I promise, there will be fans cheering for your authentic output. There will always be a market for your original best.
I posted the following article on our Life Leadership Forums page, and it received so much traffic I thought it appropriate to also post it here as well. The purpose is to help people understand the difference between knee-jerk reaction to information that is not credible, and what is actually available as a viable business.
I remember when I was first exposed to this profession, I was quite certain that it was, in fact, a scam. Or, at the very least, that it was a haven for the misinformed, mindless lemmings to pacify themselves that they were going to be rich someday, when in actuality they would never accomplish anything. I was quite certain of my opinions, too. Confident in my ignorance, was I.
However, there was also a time in my life when I was quite certain that girls had “Cooties,” a belief that was happily dispelled for me when I met a certain girl named Kendall in 7th grade. The point is that there is no crime in having incorrect beliefs and conclusions about things, but it is not okay, and heck, may even look a little silly, if we never gain new information and move beyond those false conclusions.
All meaningful companies have a history born of an attempt to right a wrong, serve some great purpose, and hopefully help its stakeholders (shareholders, employees, and customers) prosper. This usually arises out of a situation in which those who launch the company fight for something they believe in (such as Sam Walton trying to help poorer Americans with his “Low Prices Every Day,” Twitter being a way people could communicate what they were doing and thereby feel a little “less lonely,” and Steve Jobs making technology usable and cool, to name a few examples).
In the case of the LIFE business, we felt that a significant opportunity existed in the space between four major trends (a. Home-based businesses, b. Community building, c. Life coaching, and d. Personal development), out of which participants could not only offer an extremely important service to customers (personal growth, self betterment, and living the life they’d always wanted) but could also operate a profitable, personally owned business while doing so.
Opportunity Between Trends
In our opinion, there were things about each of these industries that needed improving, and therein lay our opportunity. Our goal was to establish a business in the space between these four trends, making a new combination that took the best of each trend while casting away the not-so-good portions. Here is what we thought we could improve:
1. Home-based businesses: the dominant force for this over the years had been “networking” or multi-level-marketing (MLM). But the pay plans had not usually been lucrative enough to make participants in the field much money, and the cost of operation could creep to high levels by overpriced training systems, which brought little results.
2. Community building: is really more of a sociological phenomenon than an industry or trend. Still, the mania of connecting socially through electronic means of communication (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) indicates the deep human need for real relationships. Someone needed to come along and provide a “high-touch” to go along with the “high-tech.”
3. Life coaching: the very concept of obtaining a coach to point out one’s strengths and offer constructive inputs for improvement is sound. However, much of the infantile life coaching industry (if it can yet be called that) is filled with people who are giving advice but have no results in life themselves from which to give it.
4. Personal Development: This has sometimes been called leadership development, self-help, or a rash of other terms, but the overall approach is to share life enhancing principles and techniques to people who are committed to betterment and achievement. There are some great individuals and companies who have provided excellent content for years, but much of what is out there is extremely overpriced, and unfortunately, some is just plain worthless.
Enter the Antagonists
Opposed to our revolutionizing the industry is, of course, anyone who wants things to stay as they are in any of the above four trends. As the saying goes, “When you set out to change the world, you’d better beware of those who already run it!” This includes entrenched competitors and those who work for them or prosper by their position, who are, as is only natural, threatened by what we are attempting to achieve. What results is the most natural situation in which two different sides are battling it out in the marketplace for proof that their way of doing things is best. As is so wonderful in the capitalistic system (as Orrin Woodward has written about often) the customer gets to decide. We respect our competitors of all stripes and sizes and look forward to the challenge they provide on the playing field of free enterprise!
What LIFE Offers to Customers
In this spirit, here is what we at LIFE Leadership are offering the customer:
1. World-class products with proven worth in the marketplace. In other words, our information, principles, and techniques really do help people improve their lives. (click here) As we like to say, our product is “Life changing information.”
2. A 30 day money back guarantee for any LIFE product if the customer is not completely satisfied (click here)
3. High value, low cost pricing that is extremely competitive and usually below everyone reputable we know of in the marketplace
4. Award winning content providers from the fields of leadership, financial management, relationship building, and team building (contributors include NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best selling authors, US patent holders, decorated public speakers, internationally recognized consultants, etc.) (click here)
What LIFE Leadership Offers to Members
And here is what LIFE Leadership offers those who join and become “members,” thereby making themselves eligible for compensation for moving LIFE Leadership products to customers and building groups of others who do the same:
1. An extremely aggressive compensation plan that pays approximately 70% of total “point value” revenue back out to the members in the field. We know of no other pay plan that even comes close. (see attached “Comp Plan” PDF below)
2. Glamorous paid trips (see the same PDF below) to exotic locations for early achievement in the pay plan. People can qualify for these trips within just a little past their first year of participation. We know of no other opportunity providing this type of incentive this early in one’s time in the business.
3. An optional world-class marketing system including mobile apps, a web based back office, branded emails, personal home pages, voice messaging system, and an audio training Internet radio.
4. Some of the most affordable, most effective training available in the form of live events, audios, videos, downloads, streamed events, books, and ebooks.
5. An electronic office that tracks all the member’s business activities, automatic deposit of earned bonuses on a monthly basis, and One Time Cash Awards for new levels of achievement.
The Reaction of the Antagonists
In the meantime, those who want to protect the status quo, for whatever motivation, behave by throwing stones, misappropriating the truth, mounting smear campaigns, and nearly anything else you can think of in the book of unfair play. Not to worry, however, because we are not bothered by it. We understand competition, preach it everywhere we go, and know that name calling, bashing, spreading false negatives, and the like are nothing more than what’s expected in war (as the marketplace certainly is)! We would wish it to be gentlemanly and accurate, but know that in this world that would never be the case. Heck, even Mother Teresa was violently criticized throughout her life!
LIFE Leadership’s Vision
Our vision is to build Life Leadership to the point where it is the world’s number one provider of leadership services and personal development. On top of that, we want the Life Members who are responsible for moving our products into the world to be the most thrilled and best-compensated entrepreneurs in our entire industry. In fact, we intend to redefine the impression people have of our profession altogether, one jubilant customer at a time! We may not be perfect (and as long as I’m involved, certainly never will be!) but are striving mightily for higher levels of excellence every day.
It’s time to spread the word and help people live the lives they’ve always wanted!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Someone really should give you a big fat hug. Or a sloppy dog-slobber kind of kiss, or at least a candy bar, because candy bars are cool.
Have a great day!
LIFE Leadership Creative Director and CEO
LIFE Leadership Matters
The LIFE Leadership company has just completed its second full calendar year, and again, we are very pleased with our growth and expanding impact. We have again experienced double digit growth (the exact numbers will be reported soon by the office) and reached into new markets. As always, our focus is not merely on helping people succeed, but in helping them matter. It is no secret that my favorite quote is one attributed to the famous preacher and evangelist D.L. Moody, “Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but that we will succeed at something that doesn’t matter.” Every time I read that sentence I am refocused and recommitted to making sure that everything we do helps people transcend success and focus much more importantly upon significance.
Life Leadership Dreams Big but Focuses Small
In one way, this could really just be a bunch of words. But for those of us who labor behind the scenes, this desire to matter, to truly make a difference, is a driving factor in our work. Someone once asked me when I was going to stop working so hard. I am always surprised at this type of inquiry, as what I do doesn’t seem like work. In fact, when you love what you do, and when you see every day that what you do really matters in the lives of people, you can’t help but work! In fact, your work becomes the most fun fun there is! For me, the point isn’t to get more time off, but to get more of my time to be on, on the mark, that is. Meaning, I want more and more of my time to count, and in the most meaningful ways. When I take time off, it’s only so my time on is even better! (That was the point I was attempting to make in my book, A Month of Italy).
Overall, the way we apply all this high-sounding talk at LIFE Leadership is to dream big, and then focus small. What that means to me is to keep an enormous, overriding vision of where we can help people go, followed by a strenuous mastery of the details required to make it happen.
My friends and co-founders in this endeavor, Orrin Woodward, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, Dan Hawkins, and Rob Hallstrand are all aligned in common purpose to continue to make LIFE Leadership something that truly helps people lead more meaningful lives.
Life Leadership will continue to improve!
As a result of this tireless labor of love that we are all engaged in, we have several very exciting new things happening in 2014! Among these are international expansion, new product rollouts, a massively increased compensation package, increased One Time Cash Awards, improved data management and “dashboard” designs for field leaders, simplified back office operations, smart phone apps, voice communication systems, and much more!
So hang on tight for an even more exciting year than our first two!
I truly hope you like all that we deliver this year, and that our materials and events enable you to live the life you’ve always wanted!
Remember: It’s not as important to succeed as it is to matter, and you’ll likely accomplish the former by shooting for the latter!
LIFE Leadership Makes a Difference
People approach me all the time with “great” ideas about products we at the LIFE Leadership company “ought” to carry in our portfolio. These ideas range from the good to the downright wacky. However, none of them need be analyzed on their own merits because none of them fit the key criteria for being offered by LIFE Leadership.
Because they are not information products.
You see, as Orrin Woodward says, LIFE Leadership is about information, plain and simple. We lead people to truth through a large community of people dedicating to selling life-changing information. This information has saved marriages, improved familial relationships, brought hope, fixed finances, and a host of other meaningful accomplishments in the lives of people.
This is the first most important reason we at the LIFE Leadership company are in the information only business: to make a difference. None of us is interested in hawking products, foisting commodities into the marketplace, etc. We are simply not interested in leveraging our personal reputations for products that aren’t primary in improving lives in a deeply meaningful and lasting way. Period.
LIFE Leadership Can’t Be Commoditized
Almost any product quickly becomes commoditized. What do I mean by this? Simply that any widget, physical product, conventional item, will soon be copied by the competition and improved to the point where what was once at the head of the class is quickly sent to the mid-pack. However, when producing and representing such products to the marketplace, those who well them are forced to push them even though they have slipped from their leadership position and may no longer be the best. Instead, what was once a leader becomes a mere commodity.
This doesn’t happen with the information LIFE Leadership provides and sells. This is because our content creators cannot be commoditized. There will never be another Orrin Woodward, and we have the only one. Further, not only is his teaching style (and all the other content-creators in our bullpen) unique, it is also improving. As Orrin (and our other leaders) continue to grow, learn, and improve, their teaching gets better and better, remaining the whole time, however, as unique and special as ever. In essence, it can’t be commoditized. So while LIFE Leadership is committed to developing information products that truly change lives in positive and lasting ways, it also by default does so in a way that can’t be commoditized. This means that all the LIFE Members out there who sell our information products never have to worry about representing something that has become commoditized and has fallen from its position of uniqueness in the marketplace.
LIFE Leadership Leads in value while maximizing a pay plan
Finally, the third key reason LIFE Leadership is firmly ensconced in the life changing information product category, is because information products have an enormous margin between the selling price and the cost of manufacture. In essence, information can be “produced” into a format such as CD, DVD, video stream, live web broadcast, download, or whatever, in a very economical fashion, with very little “cost of goods sold.” This means that we can both offer our products for a very low price in the marketplace (which we strive mightily to do and are very proud of our low pricing strategy), AND put a nice margin of money into the pay plan to reward the LIFE Members in the field who are selling our products (which includes ourselves, by the way). In this way, LIFE Leadership currently pays out a little over 70% of gross PV (point value) revenue back into the field – meaning we run the cost of production, administration, customer service, legal representation, overhead, etc. all under 30%. This payout plan is an industry leader and is extremely attractive to people looking to make some money in a business of their own. Also, at any level of involvement as a LIFE Member, the sale of any product produces an immediate 25% sales margin that goes directly to the person who did the selling as profit.
For these three reasons, LIFE Leadership is proud to being in the information business. And I hope this particular information has been helpful!!
. . . done things your way; sought your own path; and chased your own dreams. In fact, deep down, you’ve always known you were made for something great.
Now you’ve got different information, too.
Get ready for different results.
The LIFE Business is about Information
In an age in which nearly any product can quickly become commoditized, it is a joy to be involved in marketing informational products to customers. This is because the unique and original nature of informational products do not lend themselves to commoditization.
What do I mean?
Take, for instance, Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant concept. It was over fifteen years ago that I was first exposed to this diagram, and it continues to be instructional and useful in my life. There is quite simply no other simple concept I’ve ever seen that can take a complex landscape of possible career/professional occupation choices and reduce them to such a clear and understandable image. This concept is so good that others can merely copy it. It cannot, however, be reduced, made cheaper, or hocked in a second-hand way. In other words, it cannot be commoditized. Informational products are like that. They carry the DNA of originality and are once and forever stand alone units.
This is what I love so much about the products produced by the LIFE business. LIFE Leadership’s informational products are as unique and creative as each of our contributing content creators. Each of these tireless men and women bring their own special perspective to information that is designed to help improve people’s lives.
The LIFE Business’s Information Changes Lives
I am blessed to receive a near-constant stream of emails and cards and letters recounting how the Life Business‘s information has improved peoples’ lives. Since the LIFE Leadership company produces information in each of the “8 F’s”, the categories through which we live our lives (Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Freedom, Following, Friendship, and Fun), these life improvements take place across a wide spectrum. I have been told that listening and reading through the informational products LIFE produces has improved marriages, helped people get out of debt, formed better attitudes, and repaired damaged self-images. Many of these changes I’ve witnessed first-hand in peoples’ lives. This is extremely heart-warming and encouraging, and certainly makes me feel privileged to be a part of the product creation at LIFE.
LIFE Business Products Available for FREE!
Finally, with products that can’t be commoditized, that really work in helping people improve their lives, the LIFE Business’s products are also available for FREE!
This is done through something called the “Three for FREE” program. This is available to any and every customer of LIFE products. Simply refer three other customers who subscribe to LIFE informational products at an equal level to those to which you subscribe, and yours are free! It’s a way for the LIFE business to thank you for your referrals!
Sample some of LIFE’s informational products and see for yourself if there aren’t positive changes in store for you!
May I recommend our newest product, the Financial Fitness Pack? It focuses on the Offense, Defense, and Playing Field of personal finance. Rarely have these three categories been taught together in this fashion. I hope you enjoy the material and that it brings an improvement in your finances!
The Impetus Behind the Life Business
There is something really right about a business that allows people to get started for a relatively small amount of money, work at their own pace, be their own boss, experience the responsibilities of business ownership in an actual business endeavor without huge downside risks, have the potential for high upsides, and get the tax advantages that come with business enterprise. These attributes (and others) are what originally attracted me to the profession of networking. However, as I experienced more and more of what goes on in certain parts of this industry, I quickly realized there were several things I hated about it!
I was not alone. Along with my friends Orrin Woodward, Tim Marks, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins, we founded the LIFE company in an attempt to build a business to not only be the model of what could be in this profession, but what should be, as well. In other words, we launched LIFE to fix what we didn’t like about the industry while preserving the parts we felt were right about it.
What the Life Business is Doing
Below is a list of my beefs with the industry, and what we are doing at LIFE to make it right.
1. No True Customer Focus – Our fix: at LIFE, we not only have a customer focus but a customer requirement. If a LIFE member does not develop at least 50PV in monthly customer flow after a brief apprenticeship period, he or she will not be paid any bonus on group volume. Also, we have the 3 for FREE customer acquisition program, in which any LIFE member, and even any customer, who gets three customers subscribing to the same or higher value package gets his/her products the next month for free! Also we have sales competitions with bonuses for the top finishers, as well as special bonus incentives on sales of particular products. We are also about to announce a sales bonus chart designed to give the smallest participants in the LIFE business a huge sales margin on products sold to help them begin earning more money sooner!
2. Gaudy Lifestyle Representations and Outrageous Income Claims – Our fix: in our business presentations we give only basic scenario-based income representations (as in, “if you build a business that looks like this, the way the pay plan works, it would result in X amount of pay for that month”), with the largest scenario depicting approximately $9,000 per month in income. (See our Compensation Plan brochure for this). We don’t show cheesy lifestyle pictures or videos, bikini-clad girls on yachts, or shiny bling to try and attract people to a false expectation. Our presentation focuses upon things such as obtaining more free time, better financial security, more focus upon family, travel, church and charity, etc. (We don’t go as far as talking about more time with in-laws, however!) Also, being a new company, we’ve just now completed our first full calendar year in business (year 2012), and therefore can now release an Income Disclosure Statement to inform prospective participants and properly manage their expectations (look for this in the coming weeks).
3. The Host Company Keeps Too Much of the Money – and as a result, the people in the field get to fight over the scraps. Our fix: our pay plan is currently putting approximately 70% of gross product volume (PV) into the field in the various forms of compensation. The company was not just founded by people who had come from the field, but from people who have determined to stay in the field.
4. High Sign Up Costs: We have heard of companies charging hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to join. Our fix: keep it low! Our recommended sign up cost, including sample products (three CDs, a hard cover book, a sticker, access to the LIFE business management website, and two tickets to a LIFE Live event) is just $89.99, in which the products are optional. Our goal is to keep it “less than the cost of a tank of gas!”
5. Poor Guarantees: some are confusing, very limited, or difficult to enact. Our fix: simple and straight forward, a 30 day no-questions-asked money back guarantee for all our products, including the sign up cost.
6. Trips for Top Performers: While there is nothing wrong with this, we wanted to do something a little different. Our fix: we put two very exciting trips into the compensation program for people with relatively early progress up the performance bonus chart. One is at the 6,000 pv per month level, the other is at the 15,000 pv per month level. Also, these are not business trips in disguise, but legitimate vacations. The recipient selects the trip of his/her choice from the list of available options, and takes the trip when he or she chooses. (See Incentive Trips for more information).
7. High Priced Products – our experience is that many networking companies charge super high prices for their products and then give some of this back to the field and claim that this is their “profit margin,” when in fact, the products are so overpriced no one could ever sell them for that price to begin with. Our fix: keep the prices low! For the type of informational products that LIFE specializes in producing, our competition is almost always 20 to 200% higher. For instance, our CDs sell for just $10, while most on the market in each of our “8F” categories (Faith, family, fitness, finances, friendship, freedom, following, and fun) can be found for sale from $12 to $67! Also, in our subscription packages that include books, we almost always sell the book in that month’s subscription for ten to twenty five percent below list price, as it is just rolled into a standard subscription price that doesn’t fluctuate based upon that months’ book price.
8. Inferior Products – what does this mean? It means that specific products that can easily be commoditized (produced by someone else at a cheaper price or better value, over time) stay in the company’s portfolio long after they are no longer competitive in the marketplace. This leaves those in the field leveraging their personal reputation to sell a product that is no longer the best on the market. Our fix: Informational products such as those LIFE produces cannot become commoditized because they are unique – meaning, by specific authors and speakers whose communication styles, delivery, humor, entertainment value, etc. are not duplicate-able. While the information can perhaps be mimicked by another, the brand cannot be copied.
9. Products that Don’t Matter: The other part about representing commodity products is that they really have no ability to make someone’s life better. Why spend your valuable time and energy working at something that doesn’t do any good? As my friend Tim Marks said, “I don’t want to waste my life selling tube socks and lawn chairs!” My favorite quote is attributed to D.L. Moody: “Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but that we’ll succeed at something that doesn’t matter.” As for me, although it’s possible to make money selling commodities, I want what I do to count in the lives of people (and yes, I understand that we all need commodities to survive, but you get what I’m saying). I want to make a positive difference in the world. So our fix: sharing information such as LIFE produces has helped people get out of debt, repair broken relationships, grow personally, break addictions, grow spiritually, and, as the tag line says, “live the life they’ve always wanted.” To me, THAT’s something that matters.
But the Life Business Isn’t Perfect
Now don’t get me wrong. We don’t have the LIFE business perfected yet, as that would be impossible. But we are working daily to make it better and better, in an attempt to deliver exactly what people want and expect in an informational product company, and for a potential business enterprise for many. Also, while we believe that our products are for everybody, we DON’T think the business building aspect of LIFE is for everybody. It is only for those who are prepared to work hard, who are looking for something more in life than they can currently accomplish, who enjoy working with and helping other people, and who have a long-term vision and can stay the course.
Thanks for reading!