Russ & Linda Karlen
An entrepreneur at heart, Russ Karlen created his first business at the age of 13, and after college owned and operated a landscape contracting company. He then opened a real estate company in 1982 with Linda, a former airline attendant for Continental Airlines, after they met in 1981. They married in 1984, and signed their distributor agreement with Nu Skin on December 15, 1985. Their why was quite simple: to add financial stability. “Having a real estate company in the early ‘80s was not fun,” says Linda. “The income was not predictable.”
Known as the “rhino,” Linda says, Russ immediately took off selling the company’s Nutriol product. He knew nothing about the business, however, and had some frustrations until he and Linda learned exactly how the business model worked. They attended Nu Skin’s first convention in Salt Lake City as Emerald distributors.
As two of Nu Skin’s first distributors, the Karlens remember the early days when they were all struggling to build their businesses. Working together was critical. These early “pioneers” became best friends and learned from one another, Linda says. The Karlens advise people to remember that this is a big business, that adversity comes with the territory, that it is far more about “we” than “I,” and that it is really all about balance. “We always said to our new distributors, ‘You commit to us and we will commit to you,”’ says Linda. “People don’t care until they know you care.”
The Karlens “work hard and play hard” with their Nu Skin business, participate in the Nourish the Children initiative, and enjoy life’s blessings—their grandchildren. They also remind people to chase the vision, not the money. “Make sure your business has a greater purpose beyond the bottom line,” says Linda. “Go out and do it with passion and belief, and know that the money will come.”