JAYNE’S JOURNEY WITH FOREVER
Diamond Managers and Executive Global Leadership Team founder members Jayne Leach and John Curtis, started their Forever business over twenty years ago in the summer of ’93. They have since achieved consistent and phenomenal success over the past two decades, including receiving the top UK Chairman’s Bonus cheque this year. They’ve witnessed incredible change and growth in Forever, both globally and here in the UK.
Forever Business Owners today can thank Jayne, John and their leaders for sustained major input into some of the core literature and training materials used globally, and the couple continue to inspire and motivate generations of FBOs across the world. In this intimate interview, Forever’s Editor Kate Hodge asks Jayne to reflect on her Forever journey and to share her accumulated wisdom with other FBOs who aspire to build life-changing Forever businesses.
KH: What was life like for you when you began your business?
JL: I was a single mum, and whilst I had loved and was good at working in farming, after eighteen years of hard work, working with livestock and show-jumping horses, I still didn’t make any real money. Finances were a ‘challenge’ and we were literally surviving from day-to-day. Then I met John, also a single parent experiencing doubtful financial prospects. Together we realised that we couldn’t carry on doing work that didn’t give us what our now combined family needed. Friends in America advised us to find a really good network marketing company, and that if we did, and worked hard, we could build a strong long-term business and income of our dreams. I clearly remember not understanding what they meant by network marketing, but we did as suggested and looked at companies in the UK. Having given it much thought and discussion, we decided to look for a company that had consumable, benefit driven products; a marketing or compensation plan that would outlive us to leave a legacy income to our four children; preferably a private company with proven management, and international possibilities; but almost above all else, to be associated with an honest opportunity we could be proud of. A lot to ask? Of course, but remember, we were looking to get it right first time.
So, we looked at every single network marketing company we could find in the UK, but didn’t particularly like any of them. After attending their meetings, we couldn’t relate to either the distributors, their products, the management, or their ‘style’, so we almost gave up the search. This changed with a phone call from a friend, telling us about a company called Forever Living. Intrigued, we got together and he showed us everything he had on the company, literally a few pieces of paper, a few pictures, and a couple of products. Cautiously excited, we didn’t want that excitement to cloud our judgement, so ‘due diligence’ led to meeting with the then UK Country Manager Dusty Green. Very open and direct, he answered all our questions, so we registered, got some products, and got started – that was the beginning of our long-term ‘love affair’ with Forever.
KH: Why were you determined to succeed?
JL: We didn’t join just to ‘give it a go’; we joined to be successful. We felt that network marketing was the way of the future, and possibly the only way open for us to build a big life and achieve big goals and dreams whilst helping other people. We were ready to be successful; mentally we wanted success. It was never, ‘we’ll see if this works’, even in the early days when there was nothing in place in the UK – no meetings, trainings, Success Express events, Advisory Board, Head Office of substance, literature, manuals, brochures, internet – there was nothing. But we were committed to Forever’s founder Rex Maughan’s vision, philosophy and mission statement, and reassured that although it was brand new to the UK, it already had a sixteen-year track record and the company was enjoying success in the USA, Japan and a host of other countries. If it was working out there, it could work in the UK as well!
However, in the early days of our business, network marketing did not have a great name. It was almost seen as the thing you did when you had exhausted all other options, but because this company was built on values, integrity and ethics, John and I had decided that we were going to help make it the best network marketing company in the UK. We knew that if we worked with quality people, we could make it the best, so that became our vision and mantra.
We also listened to Dusty: he always advised us to do the right thing, go the extra mile, and remember that when you help someone else, you create a ripple effect. He also talked often about the need to remain modest in the face of increasing success, and to accept responsibility for being role models that others want to follow.
KH: What was Forever like in the beginning?
JL: When we first started, John and I sat down and had a planning meeting, deciding that if we were going to build a business, we had to implement a system. So, we got a Forever flipchart and drew out a very basic Business Presentation (BP) – this has since been developed by the leaders into the BP that everybody enjoys today. We started having BP meetings in our home every Wednesday night and Saturday morning so we started inviting people along. Most didn’t come, but the common reaction amongst those that did was that we were somehow crazy; they would tell us not to waste their or our time, to get a ‘proper job’, or worse, but we just knew that it would work, so we kept on asking.
Alongside asking people to look at the business, we also began to use these times as opportunities to sell products. We had no success stories to share, and almost nobody had even heard of aloe, so we simply shared our personal experiences. However, in the first two weeks, we developed a retail base of over 8CC. The first six months of our business continued in much the same way: John, our box of products, a Forever flipchart, and me! We then started training on Saturday mornings after the BP, and the First Steps to Manager Planning Manual that you use today began to develop from one we made twenty-three years ago!
We achieved Manager in fourteen weeks, but every single night I was either doing a launch, one-to-one, or BP. At that time, Head Office was based in a tiny office in Selly Oak, Birmingham. We drove there to get products, and the paperwork for orders had carbon copies. The only way we could work out our case credits was to gather the carbon copies from the orders, add them together manually, and constantly check them at the all-important month end. But it was such fun – we would all get together and often stay up really late counting and checking case credits on those pink slips. There was a lot of team spirit and I loved that we all came together – there was a real closeness.
KH: What are some of your fondest memories?
JL: I remember qualifying for our first Rally. Dusty spoke so fondly of the American Rallies and even though we had only been in the business for nine months, I was already a bit obsessed with wanting to go there – I had never travelled further than Europe at the time.
One day we received a phone call from Dusty, but he sounded quite stern. He said, “Jayne, I need to come and see you immediately.” When I asked why, he replied, “I’m not prepared to discuss it over the phone, but it’s very important.”
I honestly thought I had done something wrong so cancelled the following day’s appointments. The next day, after dropping the kids off at their schools, we went to the office and turned the phones off in anticipation of some unforeseen ‘bomb shell’. Dusty duly arrived on time, but still with a somber demeanor. I’d lain awake worrying all night and couldn’t cope any longer, and half expecting termination for something, I asked him to be straight and tell me what the problem was. He looked at me for a few seconds, but then he couldn’t contain himself any longer and burst out laughing. He opened his briefcase and pulled out two tickets for America before running around the room whooping.
That was to be our first ever trip to the States, and I will never, ever, forget it. We actually had no idea that we had qualified – keeping on top of case credits when it was all done on paper was quite difficult, and unbeknown to us, we had achieved 1,500CCs. The Rally was in San Francisco and we came back as changed people. Meeting Rex and the Vice Presidents, and seeing the enormity of the company; the values, the ethics, the vision, the people, it was all ‘mind-blowing’. Back then, Forever had an American Rally as well as a World Rally, but the only people open to qualification for World Rally were the country’s top distributor and the Country Manager – fast forward to 1995 and we achieved just that and another long-term ambition, to go to Peru and Machu Pichu.
Another outstanding and fond memory of the early days involves Rex. He was due to come to the UK and there was an incentive whereby you could have aloe ‘mocktails’ with him. It was a recruitment incentive, and if you won, you also got a television and VIP access to this exclusive ‘mocktail’ event. I knew I wanted to be at that party. The week before, a Head Office meeting declared the qualifiers and winners, and when Dusty called out the qualifiers, then third and second places, I was becoming despondent at the thought that we hadn’t managed it. But when he called out our names for first place, my jaw dropped open and I thought two things: firstly, that the kids were going to love the new TV, but more importantly, that we were going to meet Rex.
Yet another striking memory was when Dusty phoned to tell us that Rex was coming to the UK with Rjay Lloyd (a long -term friend of Rex and the Executive Senior Vice President), together with Dusty’s dad, Harold. Rex was touring the UK and wanted to come to our (tiny) office, and he wanted us to hold a Business Presentation. When I heard this, I said, “Dusty, our office is minuscule, and so is our training room, what am I going to do?” He just said that we’d work something out, so we did – I remember going to the local junior school and borrowing small children’s chairs so that we could get more seating in the room, and on the night, we filled sixty chairs with overspill guests in the hallway and down the stairs. Rex spoke and signed a book for me, which I still have, and the whole thing was just incredible.
KH: Why did you decide to go global with your business?
JL: Travel is a major passion for both of us, and we felt that it would be brilliant to go to countries where Forever had, or was planning, a presence. For us, it made sense to go there, do some work, and then enjoy different cultures and experiences. It was also obvious to me that building a multiple income stream with a global-based business meant taking advantage of everything Forever offers.
Our first ever global business foray was Italy: one of my dearest and best friends, Maria-Louisa Di-Pinto, asked if she could build a business even though Forever was not yet in Italy. Dusty advised us to consider whether we could personally send the products to Italy, but he backed our decision and told us to go for it. So, every month, we arranged for a freight company to collect a shipment for delivery to Maria-Louisa in Milan; she then distributed the products to her customers. After six months, we learnt that someone based in Spain was doing much the same thing, and eventually, between us, there was enough business being conducted for the company to officially open in Italy. We were already in pre-launch overdrive, and literally every five or six weeks, John, me, or both of us would be over there, without mobile phones, but in a car driving to do endless one-to-ones! When the company finally had their great big grand opening, we had about 200 people in attendance and business in Italy boomed! From that modest success, we focused on Africa and went into Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, East Africa and many other English-speaking areas. We also started an African BP every week in London, with average attendance of around 400 people!
However, at the time, although we had a global business, it wasn’t global as it is today. Case credits didn’t count towards Chairman’s Bonus or anything else other than local income, but we didn’t do it for any of this, we just wanted to build a legacy in other countries.
In those days, if you wanted to work with somebody, you got in your car and drove – we regularly did 60,000 miles per year between us, literally driving all over the country to work with teams. These days we can do webinars, Skype calls, deliver online training, group meetings, and Business Presentations – this change has been fundamental in allowing people to build a global business. Now you can do a lot of ‘groundwork’ before even stepping on a plane, but, as good as it is, technology can never replace a good old-fashioned ‘heart-to-heart’. When you get together with people who share your passion, when you feel the emotion in the room, that’s when things change.
KH: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt as an FBO?
JL: If John or I could ‘turn back the clock’, we would not have spent so much time with ‘time-wasters’ – people who talk the talk but do very little, who have great intentions but never make a call, who hardly ever show up at BP, training or Success Express event. They give you every excuse in the book as to why they can’t do something, but still insist that they are going to be successful. When you spend time with people like this and they don’t perform, all it does is bring you down, rob someone else deserving of your time, and make you question their lack of success as down to you, but it’s not, it’s down to them.
To be successful, you must do more than you think you have got to do, and you must be absolutely 100% consistent every single day, even when you’re not getting results. Always be the student, and always stay humble. Even today, I still learn off others – I want to constantly bring my best game to the table, but I can’t do that if I stop being the student.
KH: You are a founder and trustee for the DABW Foundation charity – how did that begin?
JL: My mum and dad (Dorothy and Bill Wood) joined the business shortly after us, and within a few years had climbed to second position in the UK. By this time, the UK was doing over 10,000CC and this meant the top two Forever Business Owners were to be invited to World Rally – my mum’s goal and dream was for us to attend together, but then she got sick – a little mark on her leg turned out to be aggressive skin cancer.
She was admitted to hospital on a day when the usual nurse was on leave, so a different one turned up. Nurse Otilia was from Malawi, from a little village called Kanyenda which was in the middle of nowhere with no main roads nearby. Otilia told mum that her family was still in the village, but she had come to the UK to make money to send home. The biggest challenge there was a lack of clean water, with the local small river serving as the only source of washing and drinking water for the animals and villagers. When mum heard about the number of children dying from cholera, and that the village had been saving for twelve years to try and raise the £2,500 needed to install a borehole pump, she decided to raise the money from her hospital bed. Sadly, mum died before it was commissioned, but just before she passed away, she asked me to carry on the work in the village. John and I flew out to Malawi and officially opened the well – that’s when we realised that there was a lot more work to do – kids were going hungry and the school was falling down, so our next project was to rebuild the school and kindergarten, and to put in place a feeding programme.
The villagers’ staple diet is maize, but with no means to grind it, the maize had to be carried by village women and children who would walk ten kilometres to the nearest corn mill, have the corn ground, and then they’d walk back. It was just too much, particularly with little kids, so once the school project was complete, we built a corn mill. But there was still one thing missing…
When John and I go to Malawi, we live amongst the villagers in a mud hut and local children always want to come and sit with us. We were sitting outside in the dust one evening, surrounded by over twenty kids, when I noticed one little boy, aged about two, sitting in the corner all by himself. He had a runny nose and looked so unhappy. It turned out he had malaria, but two days later when I asked after him, I was shocked to learn that he had passed away. I felt so angry at the thought that a little boy could die for the sake of a £2 injection, so I decided, there and then, that our next project was to build a medical centre.
The medical centre now treats about 100 kids daily, with families walking many miles to come to it. We have an inoculation programme, two doctors, a pharmacist, a receptionist and a nurse.
"I get excited about the thought of helping someone achieve their potential, and I am excited about seeing where Forever is going and who the next generation of Forever leaders will turn out to be."
I wanted to create something of beauty, because life is really harsh in Malawi, often just day-to-day grind. We built the centre with a terrace and veranda, with a garden fronting filled with roses and plants – roses because of my mum’s love for them, and plants and other pretty things because when a woman has walked for miles carrying a sick child, sometimes she just needs to sit and breathe.
That whole village is now self-sufficient and supported, with kids rarely dying of cholera or malaria, and instead receiving a good basic education. We’ve also taught the villagers how to grow their own micro-vegetables and they’ve started to grow things like tomatoes, onions, cabbages and green beans. We donate the seeds and have shown them how to grow their own gardens. Some of the money raised for the charity now goes towards maintaining these projects and ensuring they remain at a certain standard.
KH: You’re an inspiration to many for various reasons, and one thing I love is your generous spirit. Why do you think it’s important to give back?
JL: Right from when I was a kid, I was brought up to understand that you can never truly receive until you have learnt to give, but I was also taught to get as much happiness out of giving, as from receiving. Forever gave us the opportunity to build phenomenal personal lives, and it would be wrong not to share that with others.
You also never know what impact kind acts may have on someone else. When we were first starting out, a casual friend of ours owned a shop with a room above it, and he said we could use this as our office and training space. He knew we had no money so he let us have that building at minimal rent for one year. Someone’s kindness is sometimes what gives you a leg up in life, and I don’t know how we would have got started in our business without his kindness – I’ll never forget him. I also strongly believe that you should always come from a place of contribution – that’s who Rex and the Maughan family are in their actions, and that’s how I’ve been brought up.
KH: What makes you excited about the business all these years later?
JL: I am just as excited today about recruiting a phenomenal young couple or individual who wants to change their life, as I was the day I started. I get excited about the thought of helping someone achieve their potential, and I am excited about seeing where Forever is going and who the next generation of Forever leaders will turn out to be. It’s quite inspiring and motivating to be in that environment, although nowadays I try to be more prudent with my time as I also still like travelling and being with my family.
When you join Forever, and you develop a Forever mentality, you’ll find that there will be many people who try to tear you down, but I promise you that Forever will never let you down. You can build a legacy for your family like no other, so don’t listen to the opinions of other people, just do what you’ve got to do. Put a plan in place, and continue to work at it until you have achieved the goal that is important to you. Make sure you have a well-rounded approach to marketing and don’t just sit behind a computer. Build relationships, nurture others and be the kind of leader that others want to follow. Understand that you will have tough days, but it is what you learn in those moments that shape you into the person you will become, and that is the person who has the power to define your future.
"I get excited about the thought of helping someone achieve their potential, and I am excited about seeing where Forever is going and who the next generation of Forever leaders will turn out to be."
Don't miss Jayne's exciting new training at June's Success Express event. 17th-18th June at Genting Arena, Birmingham. Book your tickets today at foreveruktickets.co.uk.