Recovered lawyer, renowned giver (of multiple millions), shares how developing leaders got her to President of a global company and training thousands from stage
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Essence of Business
“Business is investing in people rather than investing in sales"
Debunking ‘Improve Your Weakness’
"One of the most important things you can do in life is delegate what you don't do best."
"Sales will come automatically if you develop leaders"
You’ll never excel if…
“If you don't invest in yourself, you'll never excel nor reach the highest levels of any business you get involved in."
What Good Leaders do
"To be a good leader you must inspire people"
Direct sales versus retail sales
"Last year, Direct sales grew at twice the rate as retail sales."
#1 Path to growth
"Learning and now acknowledging that developing leaders is the key, my path would have been reversed. Instead of getting into all of the how tos, I would have invested in people in a more significant way up front. Because if people aren't willing to grow and go through self development, I don't think they have a shot of being effective in business.”
Why Listen to Merri-jo Hillaker:
In the audio, Merri-jo shares:
-- Her #1 key to automatic sales
-- Her big "lightbulb moment" that allowed her to triple her business within 12 months
-- What worked for her to transition from working with big corporate CEOs to people with only eighth-grade educations
-- The biggest key she's found to daily joy and ultimate fulfillment
-- The #1 source of career depression and the solution she found
-- The counterintuitive way she turned the tables on Brian Klemmer and doubled her business within 9 months
She Practiced Law for 10+ years in the largest law firm in Wisconsin, and as Vice President General Counsel of Farm House Foods.
She’s Owned and operated two corporations, built to $10 million in sales. She started in the nutrition field full-time as a result of her father’s miraculous health recovery. She’s now current President of International Nutracom, Inc.
Certified Nutritional and Health Coach from Texas Women’s University who now teaches Educational seminars on various health topics, Grocery shopping (on premises) educational tours, Children’s Health Programs and Non-profit Sustainable Funding Programs and played basketball at Wisconsin.
She invested $20,000 in a fish food company in Cibolo Texas and 10 years later when they sold out to a publicly traded company, they gave her a check for $1.1 million. She proceeded to give it away... 10% to her church and the other 90% to a foundation she established and then immediately funded with this money.
19 years ago she started in the entrepreneurial industry. For the first 6 months she was just feeling around to figure out how to make it work. She believed when you start a new company you have to learn “how to”. She failed miserably beforehand because she didn't know how to start, build and grow a successful business.
After learning the “how tos” she quickly excelled in the business. The next step in her evolution was the nagging thought, “Who am I?"
She started to look at herself and start down the path of self development. She wasn't where she wanted to be and knew SHE was the reason. She had to upgrade her mindsets and remove mental hurdles to reach her destiny.
She invested heavily in leadership growth and within 1 year had tripled her business. The previous 30 days before this recording, her business grew 16%. She believes the essence of business is about investing in yourself.
Some Shareables from Merri-jo in this episode…
#1 Path to growth
"Learning and now acknowledging that developing leaders is the key, my path would have been reversed. Instead of getting into all of the how tos, I would have invested in people in a more significant way up front. Because if people aren't willing to grow and go through self development, I don't think they have a shot of being effective in business.
People have to understand up front you must invest in yourself, be a good reader and go to trainings. If they're not willing to do that, I wouldn't want to invest energy into them just teaching them the how tos."
"If you're going to invest your time, which is the only limited asset in life, you don't want to waste time with people who aren't going to move forward. Be as selective as possible with who you're working with... people who really want to grow, are energetic and committed. Otherwise you'll just spin your wheels. Spend your time wisely and you'll create tremendous results."
"It's probably a series of mistakes all caused by the same underlying thinking. Because I came from such an incredible intellectual pursuit in law and then jumping into entrepreneurship, I kept thinking I was smarter than the rest. My commitment the first number of years was how to build a better mousetrap. I spent a lot of time attempting to perfect the method and the model.
I came out with some brilliant ideas but the problem is this industry's been around a lot longer than I have. They had a perfected concept of the 4 most critical skills. If I would have spent more time focusing on the critical skills instead of attempting to build a better mouse trap, I would have seen even quicker results. I can't complain because I got fast results but I've muddied the waters because of my intelligence. I could have focused on what the Masters had done for years.
Studying the Masters and not trying to create a better mousetrap if one is already out there that's terrific, just follow what's worked in the past."
Favorite part of journey
"#1 is getting to work with people I choose to work with. Maybe that's due to my history where a lot of times I had to work with people who I didn't feel had my level of ethics or morality. In lawyering you represent your client's best interest but there's nothing in law that says whether they are moral or not. If your client takes a position you disagree with from a moral perspective, it's very difficult and you're put in a precarious position.
In the direct sales industry on the other hand, you're going out and basically interviewing people and deciding whether they're the kind of person you want to work with. You get to build a culture that's consistent with your value system which is awesome because you can fall in love with all of the people you work with. You can sit with them when they're having babies and be with them when their families are sick. You enjoy them as people not just as a piece of your business."
"Amazon uses robots to fill holiday orders. You're watching the devastation in the old economy and the new economy arising. It's pretty clear to me that networking and direct sales gives people an excellent chance for a wonderful lifestyle going forward and not worry about our loss of jobs."
"The entrepreneurship concept is presenting people an opportunity they may not see otherwise."
"With direct sales there is no barrier to entry. I can work with someone who's got an eighth-grade education or who is a lawyer like I am. It doesn't matter where you are in life, what matters is do you want a better life and willing to take those steps."
"It was an outside force. There are a lot of them attempting to shut down nutrition. There is a bill that's been before Congress for about the last 10 years attempting to make nutritional supplements only available via prescription by a doctor. They're trying to take that out of the hands of the consumer.
Of course, we've been fighting that bill as have most of the people in the nutrition industry. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) says the only thing that heals, cures and mitigates are drugs which is the most ridiculous statement on the face of the earth. I say show me a drug that heals anything. I talk to people who are taking thyroid medication and they say, ‘Well, it's healed me.' I go, ‘Well then why are you still taking it?' It's just a mask and it's toxic.
Our company had this major blip because of this legal issue that was outside of my control. As entrepreneurs, we like to think we are in control of our own business. All of a sudden, my income fell off the cliff by about 60%. During this time, some people fled because they were chasing dollars.
I was never just chasing dollars. This was something that landed in my lap because of my dad's incredible health results in using the products. And the mass of other people who got good results from the products. I just hung in there because I believed in the company and the product. Now the stock has doubled in price and the company is having breakthrough years.
The unexpected is gonna happen it's just about how you handle it.
It's a concept of where is your true loyalty and integrity? That's a question you gotta ask yourself.
It's one of the reasons I'm happy I did all of that self development work so I could stand in strength during this period of turmoil. The company could have gone out of business. Then I’d have to start over. People don't stand with what's right. If you stand with what's right and you hang in there no matter what independent causes happen, you'll always be rewarded at the other end. That's my belief."
"I got super excited about self development and attempted to transfer this enthusiasm to my team. I got the questions of, ‘What cult did you join Merri-jo?' Klemmer and Associates was the group I used based out in California. I got to be good friends with Brian Klemmer.
In his classes he teaches you that you have to believe in what you're doing. To show you believe in it, you put 100% behind it. You put your name and word behind it.
It's counterintuitive to most... I took a big plan to Brian where he would take 18 leaders in my organization and run them through the whole gamut of the self development course. We were going to pay a big piece of that but a big chunk of his compensation would be my people paying 50% of their income growth to him over that 9-month period of time.
I put it to him as you gotta put your butt on the line as you teach in your classes. If your work really works well as it has for me, if you won't accept this then that says you don't believe in your own work. He agreed and it was a terrific program. My business doubled during that nine-month period of time.
Bad conventional wisdom
"Anyone can start, grow and run their business. Anyone might be able to do it but are they willing to do what it takes to get it done? That's a huge distinction. If you're going to jump into a business my suggestion is to research it thoroughly. Understand what it's going to take and be willing to look at yourself and ask, ‘Am I willing to do that?' Because that was huge for me.
I had no idea. Making $100 checks for a few months when I have been making $30,000 per month. That was hard on me from an ego perspective and so many perspectives. I stuck it out because I was a very determined type A personality. I felt God had laid this path for me so nothing was going to stop me. I trusted I would be successful."
"Some people say, 'be careful.' I think careful is oversold. If you are an entrepreneur you take risks. They're educated risks. But you've got to take risks because if the business world was a clean path and an easy path everybody would be doing it. It's about feeling comfortable that even if you make a mistake it's something you learn from. It's not something that stops you. It's just learn and move on."
"Attitude determines your altitude makes me laugh. The discipline it takes, the structure and strategic planning and focus... all of that needs to happen. It's not just about my attitude. Tony Jerry has a great book about strategic acceleration."
"Sales will come when you develop leaders"
“If you don't invest in yourself, you'll never excel."
Learn more about Merri-jo Hillaker:
Merri-jo gives out her e-mail address at the end of the episode.