We all have friends like Mike Humes: that ambitious guy who bucks the system a little and is never content to just be. He marches to the beat of a different drummer, not because he is defiant in any way, but because he is hungry and never wants to settle for something average -- he is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word.
Well, different is not always bad, and when it comes to the constantly changing face of the economy, different can be lucrative.
Just ask Mike Humes, a mailman that became a millionaire selling legal services for Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. because he chose to break the job mold.
Mike had a secure, stable job with the U.S Postal Service as a mailman and was able to purchase his first house by the age of 21. He could also predict his salary (raises and all) for the rest of his life -- and that is exactly why Humes choose to buck the system and think outside the box.
How Humes got started
Pre Paid Legal Services, Inc. (PPL) was not Humes' first attempt at running his own business. Prior to PPL, Humes also worked with American Communications Network, selling cellular services, a satellite company that sold dish services and channels, and a vitamin and water company similar to Amway. All of them turned out to be money pits for Humes and did not offer him any more financial independence or personal freedom than he had as a mailman.
"A coworker tried to explain PPL to me, but based on my friend's description, I judged the company and wasn't interested. I wanted out of the rat race, and at first PPL didn't appeal to me as a business venture, or as a minority," Humes said.
But after Humes' grandfather died without a will to his name, Humes signed up for a membership with PPL because one of the perks for joining was a free will-writing service.
Humes quickly learned the benefit of not only having these legal services, but that he also wanted to help others benefit from these services.
Humes' total initial investment was $249 to become an associate (allowing him to sell PPL services to others) and his monthly membership with PPL is $26 -- but that gives him unlimited access to top-notch legal services.
In 1998, Humes was not yet convinced that another shot at running a MLM company would work, so he worked 65-plus hours a week as a mailman, and sold PPL on the side part-time.
Humes finds success
In his first month selling PPL services, he earned $5,000 and was really happy with the results: "Once people see that they can have access to these services for just $1 per day, the services sell themselves."
After nine months working as both a mailman and a PPL associate, Humes left his career with the Postal Service and sold PPL full-time, making $180,000 his first year working almost exclusively from home. Each year since, Humes has increased his annual income.
Twelve years later, Humes is a PPL regional vice president for five states and the District of Columbia. He is the youngest inductee into the PPL Millionaire's Club, he leads more than 100,000 associates, and he is part of an organization called Team NuVision) that has created nine other PPL Millionaire Club members.
"Anybody can get started like me. I was a mailman. An introvert. I wasn't a talker. Anybody can come into this company, whether you are 18 or 80, and be successful," Humes said. If you want to be like Mike, the good news is that you can.
Pros and cons
"People are both the blessing and the curse in this business," Humes said. "You have to take the good with the bad -- and while it is sad to see the negative side of people and learn that most people, even your friends, lie about things, the people you are exposed to because of PPL open many doors." Humes also says that being surrounded by so many people that were hungry for more helped to keep him motivated as well.
Humes also likes that his schedule is his own, because then his life can be his own too. Humes builds his work schedule around his daughter -- her dance classes and her school schedule -- because she is what is important to him. He likes to drop her at school in the mornings before going home to work, while most other parents are rushing off to the grind.
PPL has been around for 38 years and is continuing to grow its membership and expand the services it offers, and has worked for Humes as a viable business and career. "It will always be in business because we will always have laws," Humes said.
While PPL took Humes from mailman to millionaire, remember that this may not be the same for everyone; perhaps selling legal services is not your thing. Over the coming weeks you will have access to a series of features about various MLM/DS companies through AOL Jobs to help you decide which one might be right for you.
Advice from Mike
Mike learned his career lessons through a lot of trial and error, including failed attempts at various entrepreneurial endeavors. Based on his experience, he recommends the following:
- Do solid research. If you can punch holes in the company's business model, then it's probably not the answer you have been looking for.
- Sexiness and glitter do not always last.
- Find a company that makes you grow as a person.
-- YoUr Turn! Have an interesting story to tell? Submit it to AOL Jobs.