Advancing to the top 1% of any MLM opportunity is quite a challenge, choosing to start all over with a new company and doing it again is absolutely astounding.
After taking a break from Network Marketing for almost a year … What Daniel K. Song plans to do next may be his toughest challenge; not only does he plan to do it again with a new, rather large company, he is going to do while working a full-time job! Post why? To prove to you that it CAN be done.
It is said that in order to have success in network marketing you need to truly master one skill. Whether it is presenting, closing, encouragement, or (for the internet world) copywriting, SEO or social networking, it's incredibly important to identify your talent and "run" with it.
Daniel K. Song has mastered the incredibly lucrative art of Team-Building: The branding of a culture and system of duplicating distributors that completely trust his leadership. He is an example of the power traditional network marketing methods have on those that can obtain this skill.
During this incredibly hectic time, I had a chance to meet up with him and I want to invite you to take a look at our conversation in hopes that you may gain some value from a true MLM guru.
* Disclaimer: Soomin-Kim.com does not encourage "opportunity jumping," however the story of Daniel K. Song is a testimony to the power of the network marketing opportunity and reiterates our belief that people choose leaders before choosing a company. In other words, we believe that in the beginning, people are buying YOU; not your products nor compensation plan.
sK: I'm just going to start with the basics … how long have you been involved in Network Marketing?
Daniel: I've been a part of the Network Marketing Industry now for almost 7 years. The majority of which has been full time … I started back in May of 2003 as I was preparing to graduate from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I've been part of The Health and Wellness Industry for all of the 7 years I've marketed. It was not until this past year that I decided to take on two separate career paths; one as a designer & marketing manager, and the other as a network marketer (again).
sK: So what's your age at the moment … you still seem like a kid to me.
Daniel: I'm 29, look 20, and probably act more like I'm 12 … I enjoy being a "kid," life was much more enjoyable when you were a kid. I envy the innocence, simplicity and pureness of a child's actions, choices, and thoughts … although getting carded for 'R' rated movies at almost 30 is a bit annoying.
sK: I hear you brotha, I'm 31 and I get carded everywhere too! I'm guessing it's an Asian thing. Prior to more serious matters … anyone that knows you, knows that you love cars … how many different cars have you owned?
Daniel: Umm … to date? I've owned (9) cars in the past (8) years … I started in network marketing with a Honda Civic that I bought in high school. The first car I bought "through" network marketing was a 1993 Acura NSX (which was my dream car growing up as a kid) … That NSX was then followed up with a: 2002 BMW 325i, 2004 Infiniti G35 coupe, 2005 Lotus Elise, 1997 Acura NSX-T, 2008 Honda Element SC, 2008 Lexus GS350, 2004 Honda s2000, and now a 2010 BMW 335i … I think that's it … I really enjoy cars.
sK: … uhh yea you think?
Daniel: I mean, considering that I do not have any other real vices (like drinking, smoking, or partying) this is my only real vice. I just hope my future wife-to-be can still love me for it.
Vice: Daniel's custom Acura NSX – His "dream" car prior to network marketing.
sK: As long as she's driving what she wants … you'll be ok. Where are you currently living now?
Daniel: I currently live in the Newport, California. I used to be in Rowland Heights and Diamond Bar most of my life, but moved out to Orange County about (2) years ago because my brother wanted to be closer to work … and since I work from home, location really didn ' t matter much to me. It's definitely a nice area.
sK: Before I forget, on a serious note, I appreciate you taking some time out of your schedule to chat, with that being said … let's just get down to it … WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN !?
Daniel: Not a problem. Sorry it's taken this long to finally sit down to have this conversation! Where have I been ?! Haha …. Let's just say I took about a year off to "reinvent myself" if you will.
sK: Reinvent? Like Madonna? What's there to reinvent?
Daniel: To understand what I did, would mean you'd have to look a little further into my background before network marketing. I've always wanted to be an artist or a designer, this was my primary passion. I mean, I even went to an Art School to pursue this passion … and YOU know that coming from an Asian-American background, most parents want you to be a doctor, lawyer, or anything "prestigious".
sK: Yea, I can understand that … at the very least an engineer right !?
Daniel: Right, so you can imagine the mental heart-attack my parents suffered when I announced that I "wanted to be an artist" and go to an art school! This would NOT make for good family dinner bragging conversations between aunts and uncles.
sK: It's all about bragging rights with them …
Daniel: Ok, fast forward 3-4 years, and I got started in network marketing RIGHT out of college … I found myself in massive (and I DO mean massive) student loan debts, and credit cards graduating.
sK: Approx. how much?
Daniel: I think my student loan balances were in the $ 145,000 range, not including credit cards. So I was presented with a CHANCE to make some money through network marketing as I prepared to graduate from college.
sK: That's a lot of debt … were you sponsored in MLM from someone that was already a leader?
Daniel: My sponsor was someone who has been very successful with his own network marketing career, and took me under his wings to mentor and teach me the "game" … and for 7 years, I did network marketing FULL-TIME; as the only means of an income source. It was GREAT, but it always weighed on my conscience that I seemed to have neglected my artist passions to pursue marketing.
24k + … not bad for a "BONUS" check! (Notice there is one behind it as well)
sK: Oh got it … you never really had a chance to reevaluate things … never "pulled over on the side of the freeway" if you will?
Daniel: Right … so after walking away from my last opportunity, I decided to take some time off to pursue a career that DID NOT involve network marketing. This was a huge gamble to walk away from the ONLY thing I knew how to do, and the ONLY thing that paid my bills.
sK: So was it a mistake?
Daniel: Nope … the gamble paid off. I landed an awesome position as a design and creatives member of Leg Avenue Inc, one of the industries largest costume and lingerie manufactures in the US! I quickly took on a lot more responsibilities helping in all facets of the design and creative process there. It felt great to finally have a productive and positive outlet for my creative needs!
sK: They should've tapped into your marketing prowess …
Daniel: That's what they did … they could not ignore my past as a marketer. They quickly started to harness my experiences to help with branding projects, and marketing resources and tools. I just got promoted as a marketing manager there.
Daniel utilizing his design and art passion behind a desk for Leg Avenue Inc. Photo: Hank Lee
sK: So you completely forgot about MLM?
Daniel: Well no … with that being said, I also always had one eye back on the industry that helped make EVERYTHING possible for me. I mean this is the industry that truly opened up doors to many more opportunities for me.
sK: So where are we at now?
Daniel: Well, after taking a few months to search for a new home / opportunity to pursue, I decided it was time to jump BACK INTO network marketing. The only difference this time is that I still have a full-time career, but also juggling network marketing.
sK: What makes you think you can do it successfully on a part-time basis? When I say "successfully" I mean success as in "Daniel Song" -type success.
Daniel: There's a lot of skepticism that without going full-time in network marketing, you can not become successful. I'm here to prove that myth wrong! I strongly believe it's about TIME MANAGEMENT, and the efficient USE of time (meaning: the quality of effort and planning) that leads to success and NOT the AMOUNT or QUANTITY of time.
sK: … keep going, this is valuable stuff …
Daniel: … some people can clock in 40-50 hours into their network marketing business and not make a dime, and there are some of us, who can just make 4-5 phone calls a week, and pull in an annual income of over 6 figures. What's the difference? EFFECTIVE USE OF YOUR TIME! I've always been a multi-tasker.
sK: I think that's important for many people to hear … I feel that so many networkers mistake movement for progress … when it's really a matter of intention and focused enery. So how long has it been, or … how long have you been inactive?
Daniel: Approximately 8 months is the time it's taken to: reevaluate, refocus, and readjust. I can not say that I'm even currently "FULL-TIME" technically based on the definition of most working class … but I can TELL you with confidence that I am BACK in network marketing! I'm not an amateur playing with his hobbies, but a professional planning his business.
sK: Got it … sounds like you're serious … you know from what I know about you, you really are a big proponent (at least in my opinion) of not "loving" Network Marketing, but appreciating its ability to deliver time and freedom in order to pursue what you really do LOVE ….. Would you say that is accurate?
Daniel: Uh yes and no … I mean I do LOVE network marketing, but I think what I "LOVE" about network marketing is really it's ability to open new doors and unlock new levels of potential which were not available to you previously . I mean it's great that you can make money through network marketing, but if that's your end-all goal, then it's quite sad and limiting. Network marketing gave me not only the financial freedom, but the TIME freedom (which is MORE important – as time is NOT replenish-able like money is). The time-freedom gave me the chance to pursue my other passions of: photography, cars, art, and travel. Network marketing for ME, has been the "Vehicle" to me to pursue MY TRUE passions without the restrictions that most jobs would give you.
sK: Now there are people that could only dream of reaching the levels that you have reached in two different companies and spend a lifetime pursuing that … how were you able to do it with (2) different companies?
Daniel: Haha … you think? The problem and answer lies right in the question itself. Most people could only "DREAM" of reaching those levels. You can not just WISH for it, or DREAM of it. You need to MAKE it, and CREATE it. You must attach a clear action plan, and strategy to the goals you want to achieve, and go do it.
sK: You really think it's that simple?
Daniel: Well, I can honestly say that I was very blessed with an awesome team, great leadership group, found the right opportunities (but more so the timing IN those opportunities), and a strong desire to SUCCEED. As cliche as it sounds, "it all starts with STRONG motivators we like to call" YOUR WHY's "… make your" WHY'S "clear and the" HOW's "become very easy. I've been able to build a large downline group in (2) separate opportunities and hit leadership ranks that pay in excess of 6 figures a year, but what people do not see is ALL of the planning, time, energy, and hard work that goes into doing it.
Daniel with yet another solid team at a company function.
sK: How important is timing to success in MLM?
Daniel: It's very important that you find NOT only a GREAT opportunity, but more importantly look at the TIMING within that opportunity. There are so many great companies, which unfortunately the timing has come and gone. Any surfer will tell you, that in order to surf, you need to catch the wave from the front, and not once it's passed, that's how building a successful business is done. So many people are sentimentally attached to their opportunity (which is not wrong – I still love my first company to death … it's like your first girlfriend, and you will always cherish those memories), but you have to still remember, we are "BUSINESS" people and "BUSINESS" decisions are sometimes best made when you can separate your emotional biases from them.
sK: Alright let's talk a little about actual skills … what would you say is the one or two key skills needed to be able to start over and build large and build a team quickly?
Daniel: Finding a "good" opportunity with "great" timing; rather than a "great" company with a "good" timing … I'm sure most of your readers will understand what I mean by that. Being able to "smell" where the next opportunity is can make you a fortune. Make the wrong choice or decisions once too many, and you lose your ability to influence or convince people of that. The second skillset that can help when starting over and building a new team is to create a solid foundation … a house built on soft sand will inevitably come crashing down, never neglect the foundations and basics. Create a solid, duplicatable, and simple system that NOT only your downlines will follow, but you will follow and just GO TO WORK!
sK: You know that solid network marketing companies do an excellent job promoting motivational paraphernalia like books, CD's, trainers / speakers etc … in your opinion, what is more important to success a solid skillset or a strong mindset?
Daniel: MINDSET !!!! If NASA can teach a monkey to go to space, we can teach you how to do network marketing. Teaching and learning skill sets is simply a choice and a process … nothing too magnificent or magical with that. Having the right mindset, or fertile soil upon which you can plant, is where the "MIRACLE" process begins.
Daniel stands behind personal development above personal skills.
sK: I highly value the importance of personal development, what are your thoughts?
Daniel: I am a BIG believer on personal development … It's changed my life! Having the right mindset will make for a great foundation to learn all your skillsets on. I've seen way too many talented network marketers (those who posses high amounts of skills and abilities) but lack the proper mindset go to the wayside … often times they fail, not because of their talents, but because of their mindsets.
sK: It's so true, even in my own downline … I've seen some of the most talented presenters and trainers … just fall apart with a weak mental frame. Daniel … you've primarily stayed in the Health and Wellness Industry …. no water filters, legal services, telecommunications, or anything else …. Why?
Daniel: HAHAHAHAhaha …. the Health and Wellness revolution is here to stay! This is not just simply a trend … The Wellness Industry is going to be forever perpetual.
sK: What do you mean by "perpetual"?
Daniel: When the baby boomers move on, we (Gen X and Y) will soon replace the adult categories, we may ignore the value of wellness products now, being fairly young, but it will soon become a priority for us as we age, whether we like it or not. Once we move on, our children will become to next adult group. There will be NO end to the demands and needs of wellness-based products. Plus how many other things do you know that you can sell, and make money from, but know that you've made someone's life truly better in the process? I do not get too turned on about saving a few cents on someone's long distance bill, but I DO get turned on about saving someone's life … but that's just me!
sK: We'll put. This is a tough one I think … but if we surveyed each and every one of your personally sponsored downline past and present, what would they say is your greatest strength and what would they say is your greatest weakness?
Daniel: Wow. That would be scary. Not sure exactly what THEY WOULD say … I really do not know. I mean if I had to take a guess, I'd assume they'd think my ability to multitask and organize is one of my major strengths. I've been told that I can get a lot done in such a short amount of time. People have often asked, if I've successfully cloned myself! I really think that time management goes hand in hand with the ability to multitask and organize. I was told by a mentor that I could increase my productivity and results just by simply being more organized.
sK: … and a weakness?
Daniel: As for a weakness, I am very picky and a perfectionist. It drives me nuts when things are not done to a 110% and done perfectly. These high standards keep me and my teams performing at the best of our abilities but it also sets me up for countless hours of stress and anxiety.
sK: We talked about this privately and earlier you gave me a great analogy of comparing it to breaking up with a first love, could you share that with us …. what it's like (for whatever reason) when you decide to leave your first MLM company, especially after so much success with it?
Daniel: Whew … for a second i thought you wanted me to comment on my breakup with my first girlfriend!
sK: No, that's another time … most likely another blog.
Daniel: Haha … well when we join our first MLM company, we tend to get very emotionally invested into the company. Everything is brand new and exciting for us. It's the first time writing new goals, the first time inviting, the first time building a team, etc. Because of all these "FIRST" time experiences, we develop a strong attachment to these memories. These attachments tend to be more based on emotions rather than logical or rational thoughts. When you're young and in your first relationship, it can be sometimes dangerous. You may choose to ignore signs of danger or issues because you want to believe you are truly in love. They say love makes you blind and I believe it's sometimes that emotional attachment that sometimes compromises our logical or rational judgment.
sK: … so you think it's wrong to be emotionally attached to your first company? Is not that a part of commitment?
Daniel: No, there's NOTHING wrong with having a sentimental value for your company, but it does become an issue when it prevents you from making good business decisions. I'm sure it'd be a no-brainer, but most people would not want to see a CEO of a major company make huge decisions for the company when they are emotionally compromised or have a biased interest in something. The first "breakup" is always going to be the hardest for MOST! I know it was for me. I thought my world was going to be doomed when I first broke up with my "girlfriend". Sooner or later, life will show you that there is more out there. In the same way, you should never blindly turn away an opportunity or overlook it simply because of an emotional or sentimental attachment to something they believe to be true love. Separate the emotional attachment, and look at it as simply a business proposal.
sK: Tell me more about how it was when leaving your first opportunity?
Daniel: When I left my first company, and a large downline organization (after building it for nearly 4 years), it was a very painful and scary process. It felt like stepping out into the dark or into the unknown. After taking a lot of time to research, and study my second company, it was a slow but confident transition into the new company. Sure enough, I do not regret my decision, and as a business move, it was a complete success. Like relationships, after each breakup, you become that much more wise and experienced. You learn what you liked about your significant other, and what you disliked. That information will SERVE YOU WELL when looking for a new girlfriend.
sK: I'm a proponent of analogies … continue!
Daniel: … you already come prepared for what to expect. The same applies for network marketing. I made a ton of mistakes in my first company but I took all the knowledge, experience, and wisdom gained from my first company, and applied it to the second venture. I made sure to steer clear of any of my former mistakes, and improve on the old, it's a refinement process.
Is Daniel ready to take center-stage again?
sK: I feel like that is such a big decision …. what do you personally look for when selecting a primary opportunity?
Daniel: There's really a lot that I consider when searching for an opportunity. There really is not a formal science behind the process either.
sK: Ok, give me like a 5-6 aspects you consider in a new company.
Daniel: First off, you check for the simple but important basics: 1) is the company legitimate 2) do they have a strong mission statement or vision 3) do they have a marketable and credible product 4) the corporate team and background 5) how is the timing of this company 6) the compensation plan.
sK: Simple enough …
Daniel: These are just some of the check lists I go through when looking for a company. I do a lot of outside research on the companies I am prospecting. Generally speaking, I always choose from a product-based company versus a service based company, and more specifically always in the health and wellness industry.
sK: What about product line?
Daniel: I also now prefer a more condensed and focal product line. Coming from a company that once had 50+ products and a large catalog / price sheet, I realized it would nearly paralyze some of my downlines from ever learning the product line. A condensed or focal product line allows all the members to quickly learn the products but at the same time, get a much more concentrated efforts to market and expose a product. Some of the largest and fastest growing network marketing companies in recent times have been with companies who choose a condensed or focal product line.
sK: I actually disagree somewhat, I feel there are pros and cons of having a larger product line … but you make some valid points … what about the compensation plan?
Daniel: I look for a comp plan that is lucrative, but also fair. I tend to always believe that the BINARY plan is the easiest of the basic types of comp. plans to build. The basic logic is: if you can not build 2 legs, there's no way you can build 3 or 4. Then I really look into the timing and growth cycle of the company. Is this product or company saturated and over exposed? Is this company a startup? Most startups have a higher risk of failure, but a company that's too old may not have any opportunity left in it. That's why it's so important to find a company that has a good balance of stability and newness.
sK: … well since we're on the subject … word on the social networking 'street' is that you're officially "back" in the game. I heard that you just filled out an application for a new opportunity. Talk about a lucky sponsor (whew)! Without getting into the obvious question … what are you most excited about and what is one aspect of this business that you will never be completely comfortable with?
Daniel: Hahaha … I guess word gets out fast. Two weeks ago I began posting very vague Facebook status updates about me looking for opportunities in network marketing. Then a post about "myself" inviting me to a meeting, needless to say, that triggered a ton of post comments, inbox messages, emails, texts, and phone calls.
sK: What were they saying or asking?
Daniel: … people offering deals, incentives, or just pitching me on why I should take a look at their company. Anyways, so yes, after an intensive search process, I can proudly say that I've found a new home to build with. Ironically I also received the blessings of some of the TOP earners in my previous company who would only praise the company I chose … and yes, my sponsor is quite lucky. There's nothing they could say or do to "sell" me on a company. The only thing they can do is present to me the information that I requested. It is up to me to be "sold" or not.
sK: So then you signed?
Daniel: I signed up, and started the process of building a team one more time. The difference now being that I am doing this part time (which I answered earlier) .It's also going to prove to so many that you can STILL build a financially rewarding business just from a part-time commitment, as long as you are serious!
sK: How excited are you?
Daniel: I'm just most excited about getting back in the trenches, and building something BIG again. It's exciting to see the excitement that's being generated by just me coming back. I truly have to admit I am the luckiest guy in the world. I have so many supportive, and loyal downlines, that I can not even express with words. Their encouragement and support is probably the biggest reason why I still come back for more. I'm excited to see what we can do with this new vehicle of choice, as I think it's truly the greatest opportunity the industry has seen to date. The growth of this company is second to none.
sK: What about the second part of my question, what part of MLM will you never completely be comfortable with?
Daniel: The one thing I'll never be completely comfortable with is knowing that not ALL my downlines will always be with me. I always miss my old team members and the ones who have no longer chosen to pursue network marketing. I miss the people from the old companies who chose to stay or were just on the sidelines.
sK: Do you ever consider going back to one of the companies that you had done before?
Daniel: Who knows it COULD happen, but honestly, I think it's doubtful. I did not leave on a irrational or emotional decision. It was a long process in the making. Plus I left partially because I feel strongly that the "opportunity" that once was there was no longer there. It has NO reflection on the quality of the company or its products.
The Numbers: A Candid Look Into Daniel's Blueprint Of Immediate Advancement In His New Opportunity. When Is The Last Time You Were This Detailed In Achieving Your Goal?
sK: As of today, (during this interview) … it's been about a week since you officially started …. how confident are you in getting back to an elite status in this new venture?
Daniel: Umm … my current genealogy shows approximately 800+ downline currently in the system, most of which has been "power-legged" to give maximum support and incentives for my team members. I'm just beginning to build my other leg now and my iPhone has been dying on me mid-day everyday for the last week.
sK: Pshh … 800 new downline in about a week? That's alright I guess … (insane sarcasm obviously).
Daniel: I think we're off to a great start! Where I'll ultimately end up in this company, I do not know. I can tell you that it'll be exciting either way!
If history and track record prove true, Daniel will be back on top in this newest of ventures.
sK: How about I check back with you later on this year? Daniel, I know it's been incredibly busy for you these past few days, and I'm certain you have not gotten much sleep. I appreciate you sharing with me and my readers some incredible insight, value and knowledge …. Best of luck friend on this next chapter.
Daniel: Sure thing Soomin! Let's not be strangers!
Thanks for sharing,