Turning Adversity Into a Billion Dollar Opportunity

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Turning Adversity Into a Billion Dollar Opportunity

Sandie Tillotson

When it comes to turning a bad situation into a golden opportunity, the award must go to Nu Skin Cofounder and Senior Vice President Sandie Tillotson. She understands struggling to make ends meet, and she also knows what it’s like to earn a lot of money as a distributor. And when her income suddenly disappears, through no fault of her own, she knows what she needs to do to rebuild that success—on her terms.

 

Sandie’s journey as one of the founders of Nu Skin began when she was a young mother and wife working as a part-time substitute school teacher, living in a tent trailer in the summer as her husband worked on the oil rigs. “Life was challenging, but we were set on our goals and we were both working really hard,” says Sandie of those years. “We just weren’t working smart yet.” When she was offered an opportunity by her mother-in-law, Clara McDermott, to be one of the first distributors for a company that had decided to market its diet product via direct sales, she embraced the idea. Sandie joined the business and was soon earning big commission checks.

 

A Bad Check That Leads to a New Venture

 

Unfortunately, a year and a half later, the company went bankrupt and Sandie’s last—but very sizeable bonus check—bounced. That day became a defining moment for Sandie—and for Nu Skin itself. “I look at it as the best thing that could have happened to me. The event is the same. It’s just I’ve changed the outcome of that event into something extremely positive. We all have the power to do that. And so, when that really bad day happened, rather than being embittered about network marketing or saying it’s never going to work or it’s a terrible system, I thought, ‘Network marketing is a great vehicle, but I had partnered with the wrong company.’” 

 


Nu Skin founders Steve Lund, Sandie Tillotson, and Blake Roney in the company's early years

Sandie felt that her career in network marketing was over unless she partnered with others to create her own company.  Some people, however, felt she should join another established diet product company and repeat her earlier success.  “But I didn’t want to do a diet business, and I honestly didn’t trust other companies,” she explains.  “I figured we could create a company that would be different … all of the good and none of the bad became our motto ... for the product and the marketing plan.”  Sandie and Blake wanted to create a company that put its distributors first and made sure there was money in the bank to pay its distributors, because she knew how it felt to work hard for a check and not receive it.  “Our commitment later on was we got that check out on time every month by hook or crook.  If we had to sleep over in the office we did that to make sure that the checks got out on time.”

 

Committed to Actions That Are The Difference.  Demonstrated.

 

This philosophy became a hallmark of Nu Skin’s management system, and one it has never deviated from since the company’s early days when commission checks were calculated with an adding machine.  “We would get the orders in and keep them in a stack,” says Sandie.  “Each distributor had an index card and we would write that month’s sales volume, and then we would set it up on the office floor in a big genealogy-looking map and calculate commissions.  That was really the only way we could do it.  At some point you’d have to say almost thank goodness we didn’t become a billion dollar company overnight.  That would have created huge problems.”   

 

Thanks to Sandie and her cofounders’ dedication, Nu Skin did go on to become a $1.7 billion company.  And it’s still growing, and still serving as The Difference. Demonstrated. throughout the world.

 

“Bad things happen to everybody, and it’s really what you do with that adversity that separates us.... I refuse to dwell on negative thoughts and instead replace these thoughts with positive actions.”

 

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