Todd Smith is the co-founder of Wakaya Perfection, a network marketing company that specializes in natural products designed to improve the health and wellness of those who use them. Todd’s foray into network marketing started with a recommendation from his father at a very critical turning point in his life. Two decades later, he has used his expertise to help create life-changing products and guide others to success.
Todd Smith grew up on his family farm in rural Idaho and learned the value of hard work at a young age. He married his high school sweetheart, Darcia, and together they have eight children. Network marketing has provided Todd the ability to balance work and home life, as well as financially support his family.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I got started when my triplets were born. I could no longer work full time and attend school full time. My father actually suggested network marketing to me, thinking it would be a good fit for my very new family situation. He explained it to me very simply saying, you join and sell to others. Anyone who buys through you creates a residual income for you because you get what would normally be spent on advertising and other overhead. Given my circumstances at the time, I agreed it sounded like a great way for me to generate income while still being able to attend college.
How do you make money?
For the last 20 years, I have been meeting people and discussing what their health goals are. Wakaya Perfection offers such a great variety of products, from health and wellness to personal care. I would recommend the products I felt would best help meet their goals. Each time they order more products, I’d receive a percentage of those sales. Today, I am no longer a distributor and my income is more generated by the success of the company providing the products to customers, as well as providing the opportunities to our ambassadors. As long as we identify a need and provide the solution, we will continue to be profitable.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
When I first started back in 1996, I didn’t have time to not be profitable. I borrowed money to get started, but started to generate an income above what I had borrowed almost overnight. Once I had paid my initial startup, there was money coming in every time someone bought products. We were able to share the products with people who were then able to share it well, so we had that residual income each month.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle it?
There were many times that I felt doubt. There was one time I remember, right at the beginning. We were still building the business and one of the ways we shared the message was with an audio cassette that had a health seminar on it. We would loan the cassette to potential distributors to listen to.
I was constantly buying more tapes, so I finally decided to just buy a case of 100 and placed the order with my credit card. I declined the insurance for the delivery because I didn’t want the additional fee. Of course, when the package showed up, more than half the cassettes were broken. I vividly remember thinking, I can’t even pay the credit card for the purchase, I’m done for. Then, it occurred to me I still had half the tapes. I’d never had that many at once to use. I found the positive from what could have been a very negative situation. I used it as a motivator instead.
I worked harder and got the money I needed to pay back the card and more. There were a few of these moments over the years, where I made a choice and things didn’t work out quite as I’d planned. Each time was just another push to do better.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer was my neighbor. They saw a UPS truck pull up to my house. They knew I was a new dad and they came out to inquire what I’d ordered. We got into a conversation about the health products I had bought and I explained that I hoped to build a business with it. He was great and he pulled out his wallet and said he wanted to be my first customer.
What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that you use that works really well to generate new business?
Right now, my favorite marketing quote is, “did you know…?” I fill that in with whatever statistic I plan to discuss and use it as the starting point to the conversation. For example, did you know we just ended the deadliest decade in America since World War 2?
That will catch someone off guard and make them ask what I mean. From there, I can go into a discussion about the state of America and diseases that we are facing now, as well as how we can help fight those diseases.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Throughout my career, I have had to make a choice between spending time with my family or spending time making things go well at work. It is a constant struggle for me. I want to be there for my children, but I also need to provide for them. I always try the best I can to be there for sporting events and special occasions, but I always have to weigh that out. Obviously, all working parents deal with this every day. Balancing work life and home life is a very real issue and keeping that balance can be difficult at times.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think the relationships that I build make me successful. I surround myself with people who are intelligent, hard-working, trustworthy, and have my best interest at heart. I definitely don’t know everything, and I have found working with a team is more beneficial for the company. We have a set of values and goals for Wakaya and we are there to keep each other on track.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I had an experience many years ago, about 15 years after I had started. I was at an event and a woman came up and introduced herself to me. She asked if I remembered her and she shared with me that 10 years prior she had been struggling with her health and the only people she had were her parents.
She had been disabled and the doctors could not identify the specific reason for all her ailments. I had worked with her at that time and gave her many products at no charge. She kind of disappeared for a while after she had some improvement, but I had never known what happened to her.
I didn’t even recognize her when she approached me, she looked so much healthier than the last time I had seen her. During this time, she had reconnected with her children and had found a great job. She thanked me for all the help and said I had started that success for her. That was an extremely rewarding moment for me, to see the real difference you can make in someone’s life.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
Wakaya Perfection has no limit to what we can accomplish. We have excellent field leaders working with our ambassadors. They have great hearts and great work ethic and they have a real zeal to help people. Our executive staff is wonderful and provides the supports necessary. Of course, our products speak for themselves.
People are able to overcome poor health, stop medications, or lose weight in a healthy way. You name it, Wakaya has something that can help improve your life.
That is what I’m most excited about, just that enormous growth potential we have as a company and what we can provide for our ambassadors and sales representatives.
What business books have inspired you?
I had a tough time when I was a teenager for a little bit. My father actually pulled me out of it by playing an audiobook called “See You at the Top” by Zig Ziglar. That book played over and over every day while we drove around. At first, I just thought it was corny, but eventually, it sunk in and became a part of my everyday thinking. It helped me develop a different belief structure in myself and what I could accomplish.
What is a recent purchase you have made that has helped your business?
I recently purchased a book called “Shoe Dog,” which is the autobiography of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It tells how he took his company from the start to becoming successful. I feel like learning from others who have found success is a resource that not everyone thinks about, but I really enjoy hearing about their stories.