Rodger’s Story

Rodger’s Story

I have been blessed with success in the corporate world and in the network marketing world. I have turned companies around and I have taken successful companies to new levels. Now, I love sharing what I have learned with my family, friends and awesome clients. Helping you, your distributors and your company find more meaning and achieve at a higher level makes me happy.

From Humble Beginnings to Big Results

I grew up in humble–even poor–circumstances. My father was a great guy but a severe alcoholic. When I was just four years old, my mother took my sisters and me and left him to try to make a better life for all of us. Because my Mom didn’t have the means to give me what I wanted, I learned to work for what I got. I worked on a farm in Idaho while I was in high school. A typical day began at 4:30 AM, when I’d go move irrigation lines before school started. I’d move them again during my lunch break, then again after school. I worked in retail too and even washed dishes and dressed up like the “rat” at the Chuckee Cheese restaurant in Boise, Idaho.

I’m sure my family life growing up was pretty average even though we had less than average money. I’m so grateful for my amazing mother and for the countless sacrifices she made for her children. We knew we were loved. Although there are many experiences I could share to paint a picture for you of the darker side of my life growing up, perhaps the image of suicide tells the story best. When I was 16 years old, my older sister, who was already struggling with addiction, attempted suicide for the second time. The image I carry with me as I tied towels around her wrists and rushed her to the hospital will forever be with me. Then, several years ago, my beautiful oldest sister succeeded in taking her own life.

Through our struggles I dreamed about creating a different life–a better, happy life–for my family and myself. I dreamed of starting my own business and becoming super-successful. In an effort to turn that dream into a reality, I went to college. I was the first person in my family to do this. I worked hard, got a good job, and began climbing the corporate ladder. I had arrived. I was making six figures and had a 401(k) and stock in the company at Ancestry.com. I had a great bonus package and a corner office with a view of the mountains. I had reached all the goals the company gave me to accomplish; I hit the revenue numbers I was supposed to. I had beaten the odds. I had gone from rags to riches. I was one of those success stories you hear about that make you feel good about living the American dream.

House of Cards

Then, one day, it all went away. I knew something was up shortly before I got the ax. There were constant layoffs at the company, and I had always been involved in the discussions as to who was going to be laid off. But this time I wasn’t.

MyFamily.com, the parent to Ancestry.com, had acquired a company called ThirdAge, Inc. out of San Francisco. ThirdAge had a Chief Marketing Officer with a hefty parachute that would have cost the company too much if they let him go. So it all came down to who would be the least expensive to let go. That was me.

So, after taking the company from $8 million to $20 million over a two-year period and increasing the subscriber base from 110,000 to over 400,000 (making Ancestry.com number three in the world for Internet subscription sales), I was let go and had to watch someone else take over the team I had built. So much for stability. I realized that the days of working hard for a company until you retire and getting a gold watch and a pension were long gone.

In hindsight I am, of course, grateful for that event in my life. It freed me and allowed me to move on to bigger and better things. I’ve discovered, as you may have, that this is often the case. Something we perceive as being the worst possible thing that could happen hits us broadside, but in the end it proves to be a gift–a blessing in disguise.

When I was laid off from Ancestry.com, I had a pretty big nut to crack each month. I had been making over $15,000 a month with my salary and bonuses, and with alimony to pay, two households to support, and the maintenance of a lifestyle to which I had become accustomed, it wasn’t any too much. But I knew I could go out and get another job quickly, so I wasn’t too worried.

Unfortunately, 9/11 happened around this same time and took its toll on the job market. I found myself out of work for seven or eight months, which pushed me to the brink of bankruptcy. I finally found a job that paid about half of what I had been making, but I needed something, so I took it. Even though I was making considerably less, I felt the right thing to do was to keep paying child support and alimony at the same rate I had been, so I just took it in the shorts and made it happen. The job was crummy. It was a huge step backwards from where I had been. I was absolutely in survival mode.

Rising from the Ashes

I kept looking while I worked this job and, within a year, found a company called Floppy Copy that was in need of being turned around. They had built to over $30 million a year, then had lost market share until they were eking out a measly $2 million a year. I visited with Shane Argyle, the company’s owner, we discussed a plan, and I became the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing. I led the re-branding of the company to IntegraCore and pushed revenues from $2 million to $20 million a year in less than two years.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Shane. He’s one of the quality people I’ve met along the way. I have great respect for him. He has since sold out his majority interest in the company to pursue some service opportunities with his wife. Shane and I were inspired by Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, and followed many of his principles in effecting the turnaround. I might also mention that 12 years later, as I write this, the company’s online presence is essentially what we created as part of that turnaround. We made some extremely powerful and lasting changes in that company that have stood the test of time. In fact, Shane has since sold that company but it has continued to grow and is now close to $100 million in annual revenue.

While I was at IntegraCore, a guy who had worked for me at Ancestry.com, Chris Peterson, contacted me. Chris and I had developed a good rapport while working together. He left Ancestry.com before I did when he had the opportunity to become the personal PR man to Eric Schmidt of Novell. Chris came to me and told me about this opportunity he had to follow Eric around, shoot footage of what he did, and create PR materials for Novell. The money was great and Chris was excited about the possibilities this job held for him, so I told him to take it. And he did.

The MyMangosteen Story

A couple of years later, in the fall of 2002, Chris contacted me and told me his cousin, Aaron Garrity, was starting an MLM company called XanGo along with some other gentlemen. He knew I had some experience with network marketing both at the corporate level and as a distributor, although I had never built a notable organization for myself at that point. I was, however, his friend and someone who knew more about it than he did. He saw me as valuable both from the standpoint of what I knew and what I could do for him as a distributor. (Of course, he was trying to sign me up!) He invited me to a meeting, and I went.

What I saw was better branding, a better image, and a better story than anything I had ever heard in the direct sales industry. I told him I was interested as long as we could do some things differently from how they had been traditionally done with respect to our recruiting. I’m not big on inviting people to meetings at hotel conference rooms. Chris already had MyXango.com reserved, so we were in a good position to leverage the Internet for our recruiting efforts.

We teamed up with a couple of developers, Dan Masterson and Nate Best, and, using our knowledge of Internet-based marketing, set out to create a recruiting site for our XanGo businesses. At first, we were all going to sign up in our own positions and use the sites independently, but as the project progressed, we decided to become a team. Chris designed the site, Dan and Nate handled the programming, and I became the face and voice for the marketing sites, the trainings and also conducted the conference calls. All of us but Chris were still working other jobs and building our XanGo business as a grassroots effort.

The rest, as they say, is history. Together we developed an online recruiting and training system called MyXanGo.com (MyMangosteen.com). It was one of the first tools ever to leverage technology and the Internet in direct sales, and if not the first, it was definitely the best at that time. Using this system, our XanGo business took off and our group became enormously successful. So profitable, in fact, that I was able to quit my job and do XanGo full time. In my best month I earned over $70,000 and that was my third of the profit that month.

Full-time Network Marketing Success

It took 12 to 18 months to get the business to the point I could quit my job and work my XanGo business full-time. At first, our system was only available to people in our downline, and we provided it at no cost. Ultimately, we couldn’t keep it to ourselves anymore. It became a hit that people were happy to pay for, so it became another profit center for our team.

It was at this point I tried to recruit Ken Forrest, a previous business associate and good friend, into XanGo. He wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, we had sworn to each other after previous experiences with MLM that we would never get into it again. We had joked (perhaps more seriously than jokingly) that we should start an MLM with a monthly auto-ship product that would be information on why one should not join an MLM. We even considered the possibilities of offering a premium membership level that would offer physical intervention services for anyone who got too close to actually signing up in an MLM.

That may make you smile—or even laugh depending on your past experiences with MLM—but that’s how negatively we felt about MLM. We had both been there. We had tried, somewhat succeeded, then failed (or the companies for whom we were distributing had failed). Our experience was that of untold thousands who had the same bad taste in their mouths for MLM. I share this because I don’t want you to think we’ve been rah-rah MLMers all along. We’ve been on the other side of that fence and despised MLM companies and MLM distributors. We just hadn’t figured out how to make it work properly. But that was different in my case at this point, and I was trying to get Ken to see it. He just didn’t want to listen.

Finally, I contacted Ken and told him he had to look at my website. At the time, Ken was in Hong Kong speaking on how to make money on the Internet. I showed him that’s exactly what I was doing. We had combined MLM and the Internet and we were making great money on the Internet with all the advantages of MLM tied into the business. That sealed it. Ken joined online after going through the tour at my website. He sent emails to a number of people he knew, telling them to go to his website (which had been created for him automatically by the system as soon as he signed up) and check out this business opportunity. As I recall, Ken had 20 or 25 people signed up and going before he returned from that trip. Ken worked his XanGo organization for a while, and then decided he wanted to take this amazing online recruiting system to other MLM companies. That is how Solution X was born.

Starting Over

Although I was busy building the XanGo business Chris, Dan, Nate, and I had started together, Ken began working on me to come over and join him at Solution X. I consulted with him and did what I could to help him get the company going, but I was content as a XanGo distributor.

Then things started to change and I eventually lost everything that I had built with my XanGo team and would have to pick up the pieces and find the strength to continue.

Chris, who held the spot above Dan and I (we had bought Nate out of the business) became a 200K distributor and stepped into the limelight. He was on stage at XanGo events, in demand as a leader in the company, and, at one point, featured in XanGo’s distributor magazine, Go. Of course, I was happy for his success because we had collectively built our businesses and had been splitting our commission checks according to the agreement we had for our team. But sometimes money does interesting things to people. We both made mistakes and our relationship deteriorated.

When Chris made the cover of Go magazine, he didn’t even mention Dan or me in the article. Even though I had noticed this when I read it, the realization of what was happening struck me hard when my then-13-year-old daughter read the article and asked me, “Dad, isn’t Chris your partner?” I replied he was. “Then why didn’t he even mention your name in this article?” came her query. It was obvious to everyone that we were no longer a team.

With that said, Chris, who came to me asking for direction and help when he knew nothing about the world of MLM, had come into his own. He had matured and told the XanGo story well. He developed a good stage presence. He’s became a good motivator. At one point in his life, he was the drummer in a band, which won a competition and had the possibilities of a real future. Chris wanted to be a rock star. That all ended when the singer decided she wanted to quit and have a baby. The gig was over. Although his group has disbanded once again, this time by his choice, Chris has become a real rock star in XanGo.

I tried to get bought out of my position in the team Chris and I had launched, but that didn’t work out. I really did like XanGo and knew if I could get bought out and start over with a different group I could be successful and content. It just didn’t go that way. That’s when I joined Ken at Solution X. Corporate management and distributors alike at dozens of MLM companies have caught the vision of what we’ve collectively developed in joining the forces of network marketing with the power of the Internet to create a tool that allows more people than ever to be successful in their businesses. While to this day I’m known throughout the MLM industry as one of the founders of MyXango.com / MyMangosteen.com, a website and system which has been widely hailed and copied, it was a rush building Solution X and bringing my formula for success to such a vast audience. I have had the opportunity to be a consultant to top distributors and corporate executives at companies like Q Sciences, Nerium, Zurvita, Visalus, BeachBody, AVON, Limu, Qivana, Monavie, Synergy, Stampin Up, XanGo, NuSkin, Mannatech, Nikken, Kyani, Nature’s Sunshine, Take Shape for Life, Syntek, Boresha, and Tupperware. Its been amazing and I am so grateful to the teams that helped our companies (Solution X and iCentris) accomplish so much. I look forward to writing the next chapter together with the amazing people in my life.

Onward and Upward

This story of my experiences with Chris as a XanGo distributor brings up an important point. The most successful people I’ve seen are those who surround themselves with people who are better than they are at whatever they are doing, give those people the tools and resources they need, then praise them and shout from the rooftops telling everyone how great these people are. This philosophy works in every situation. As long as you’re sincere, you will never diminish your own standing by praising others and giving credit to those on your team who make things happen. In fact, quite the opposite is true. You will add credibility to yourself and your entire team by doing this. And nowhere is this more true than in network marketing.

Your financial success in this industry is absolutely, one hundred percent, totally, and completely tied to the success of your downline. You should recruit the best people you possibly can to be on your front line, then coach, praise, and help them in any way you can to help them be everything they can be. That’s how it works! I would love nothing more than to have the 10 best-ever distributors front line to me. I’d be set. And do you think I’d take every opportunity possible to bring attention to their success and efforts and pump them up into larger-than-life icons? You better believe it! Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Give them what they need to succeed. Readily give credit to them for everything they do. Make them as successful as possible. This is how truly successful people do it.

At the end of the day, it’s all about people. You just gotta love ‘em!

On a Very Personal Note

I experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression from the time I was at Ancestry.com all the way through my XanGo experience and into the early days at Solution X. At one point I was on the verge of a breakdown. I took prescription drugs for anxiety and depression. I began drinking to self-medicate and after too many years my drinking was out of control.

A few months after I married the love of my life I found myself on my knees, broken down and humbled to the point where I was ready for a change and would do just about anything to be free of the demons of addiction and depression. I prayed to my Heavenly Father and told him how much I needed him to help me and that I knew I couldn’t do this alone. I prayed that the Atonement of Jesus Christ could apply to me and I asked for forgiveness for all the mistakes that I had made in my life. He answered my sincere prayer and gave me the strength to overcome huge obstacles. He gave me hope and saved my life. I haven’t had a drink or any other kind of drug since the day that I asked Him for help. I am in awe of His goodness and mercy. It is amazing to me how little He requires of me before he pours blessings out on me. All I had to do was turn to Him and He was there for me.

I share this part of my story because I want everyone to know that God loves them and that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. No matter how far down you think you have fallen there is hope for you. You are unique, you matter to your Father in Heaven and our Savior really does “stand at the door and knock”…all you have to do is open the door and miracles can happen in your life. With His help you can change and reach your highest potential.