Ed and Sandi Cohen did not start out looking at MLM or Network Marketing has the best method of becoming financially independent. However, once Sandi saw the real potential of what MLM was all about, she quickly realized that her lifelong passion for making a difference in people’s lives could be even larger than it had been in their previous business venture.
Sandi’s passion for making a different in people’s lives didn’t start, when she signed up her first team member in network marketing. It started years earlier, when she saw the travesty that young black kids were experiencing because of segregation during the 60s.
So upon graduating from Temple University with a degree in education, Sandi volunteered to be the first white female in an all-black school in North Philadelphia.
Last week on ACES Radio Live she told us…
“It was a very difficult time in our country’s history, but I was passionate about taking an active part in helping these kids change their lives.”
This is just one of many stories of Servant Leadership, I can share about Sandi. It is this drive passion that caused Ed to fall in love with Sandi while they were still in high school. And it is what has kept them together for over 40 years.
Ed has stated many times, “Once Sandi sees change that needs to take place, she stays committed to bringing the change she wants to see.”
Today one of Ed and Sandi’s strongest passions is empowering young men and women to become financially independent and take care of their families the way they choose.
So where does the ride to financial independence start for the Cohen’s?
Well it started back in 1978. Ed has started a pharmacy chain, and saw the need to start medical and surgical supply business in the front of one of Ed’s pharmacies. Her specialty was in pediatrics and she was a pioneer in that industry, helping families with disabled kids get the equipment and supplies they so richly needed and deserved.
It was during these years that she worked closely with Senator John Heinz on changing state mandates for supplies and equipment for disabled children. Sandi was helping people and bringing BIG change to their lives.
But even with all the good she was doing, there were issues. Sandi told us…
“Our first two pharmacies actually failed, but we never gave up on the dream of having our own business and eventually had five pharmacies. We did very well and our business provided us an incredible lifestyle. We lived in a 10,000-square-foot home, had a Rolls Royce, a stretch limo, an English houseman-the life I always dreamed about, and never thought it would go away.
It was also one of the most emotional times of my life. Often, men abandoned their wives because they just couldn’t deal with the stress of a disabled child. It was heart-wrenching to see women trying to survive financially while caring for someone who had truly unusual needs.
I adored what I did, but was very stressful and challenging. We had half a million dollars in inventory, thirty-six employees and six trucks on the street. My specialty was adaptive equipment for the severely disabled: paraplegics, quadriplegics, kids with spinal bifida, cerebral palsy or MS.
In 1985, the managed care industry decided to change how providers like Ed and Sandi paid for their supplies. Suddenly Ed and Sandi could no longer afford to pay their employees every week and provide very expensive equipment to their patients. They eventually decided to sell the business to a group of private investors, who after they acquired the business defaulted on the payments.
It was an eight-year nightmare in the court system. We lost everything trying to prove we were right. Eventually we won in court and it became a landmark case. But we ended up hundreds of thousands in debt. Our home was gone, our cars were gone, even our English Butler was gone. But through it all Ed and I never forgot what was most important, and that was making a difference in other people’s lives.
We decided to move to Phoenix to start a new life. We rented a tiny apartment and shared a nine-year-old car with no air conditioning in the summertime.
But I kept asking myself, how do you start all over again at the age of fifty-two? Going back to teaching school was not an option, especially in Phoenix where teachers are paid about $25,000 a year.
When we got settled in Phoenix, I gave a lady I was referred to a call. We met for lunch, and the first thing I noticed was she seemed to enjoy a nice lifestyle. She was easy to talk with and really seemed to care about learning more about my life; we talked for hours. I cried and she listened. Eventually she said, “Well, Sandi, maybe you’d be open to looking at what I’m doing.’ I said, “What in the world do you do?” Out of her mouth came the words, “Network marketing.”
Ed and I had tried a program about three or four years prior, and I had convinced Ed to buy $8,000 worth of water filters that we had to give away at a garage sale. I knew Ed loved me, but even after all we had been through, this would be pushing the envelope if I stated talking to him about another front-loading Network Marketing company where we would end up with thousands of dollars worth of product in our garage that would spoil before we could consume or sell it.
However, the more Eileen talked, the more I began to understand that maybe this company was different, and Ed and I would have a shot to get our life back, financially.
So here I was in a new town, one friend, caring for my ailing mother, and starting my journey in Network Marketing. For three years I fought with Ed over quitting. Ed could not understand how I could work this hard, for such little financial reward.
But my MLM business was giving her the ability to stay home and manage my mother’s care, so even though I was not making a boatload of money, I was caring for one of the most important people in my life.
However, since most of the people I knew still lived on the East Coast, and there was no such thing as ‘free long distance’ my phone bills (at .25 per minute) were bigger than my checks.
But, I was hooked. I knew Network Marketing was the business model for me. That first three years, I must have tried over ten companies, getting nowhere. But I learned a lot, experiencing what did not work. I knew I could succeed in this profession, if only I could find the right company with the right product, the right compensation plan and right owners.”
Finally I found a company that had just about all the qualities Ed and I looked for, except that it had never gone international. I knew in my heart that the international market could be bigger than all of North America. She stayed with that company for about seven years and became one of the more successful distributors, passionate about the products and services. “I worked that company hard, but they never went international, at the time, they hadn’t even gone into Canada.
One day I got a call from a complete stranger who asked me to take a look at a new company. He got my name from a MLM Lead list and introduced himself. He asked me if I’d be open to looking at a company that was going to be launching in a few months.
He invited me to the headquarters, I called a friend of mine, who, reluctantly, agreed to go with me. We went to a tiny 1,200 square feet office (today the headquarters are 260,000 square feet) and four hours later, I called Ed and said, I think we may have a problem. Ed quickly asked ‘What’s wrong Sandi?’ I said, I really like what I see.
What got my attention was the quality of the founders of this company: six men with extensive backgrounds both in traditional business as well as in network marketing. To me, that was the magic.
Just because someone’s a successful businessperson doesn’t mean they can understand our unique profession. And just because someone’s a fabulous networker and can build a huge team doesn’t mean he knows a thing about running a business. The balance of both corporate and field expertise excited me even more than a first-to-market product.”
Ed and I talked a lot. Ed was concerned because we were still crawling out of the debt and if I jumped companies, I could lose my check.
We eventually joined XanGo 2002. It was a whole different story starting a new business because now there was the Internet. And because of ethics I did not go after people in my former company.
We worked our hearts out in those first few years. Today, people come up to me and say ‘Sandi you’re lucky, you got in early.’ Well let me tell you, early isn’t always a good thing. When I worked the phones, most people answered, “Oh, come on, Sandi! It’s a start-up. Ninety percent of companies never see their second birthday. And 85 percent of those who see their second birthday never see their third or fourth birthday. Call me back after the company’s two years old.’ It was not easy that first year or two. And had I been on the other end of the phone, I would have said the same thing.”
Today Sandi teaches people it’s not only about picking the right company, but also about understanding the similarity to traditional business or any profession. It’s also about learning who you really are, and going for your passions.
Unlike some of the so called gurus who tell you to only go after BIG Hitters. Ed and Sandi realize that success for each person is different. For some folks, $500 a month could make a big difference.
They truly teach their people that Network Marketing is a business, not a lottery. Success and financial freedom doesn’t happen without getting skin in the game, developing your leadership skills, before you can help others develop theirs.
Ed and Sandi’s mission today is to empower people to live their dreams and leave a legacy their families can be proud of for generations to come.
I truly believe that Ed and Sandi Cohen are the Duke and Duchess of MLM!
Ed & Sandi thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the true Servant Leaders you are.
Never Give Up,