Antonio and Juanita Maldonado
Equal Opportunity for All – “What’s so great about this business is that it doesn’t matter whether you come from a low-paying job or a high-paying profession, everyone starts out as an equal,” says Antonio Maldonado, who knows first-hand just how important that is.
Antonio came to the United States from Mexico at 17. His first job was as a housekeeper. He moved on to become a painter, then a cook, and later a carpet layer. He worked hard but was still earning very little. By that time, he and Juanita were married with two kids. But they were so strapped for money that they were living with his parents. “At that point in my life, I felt like a total loser,” he says.
Then his sister talked with them about the Amway™ business. Although Juanita saw the potential right away, Antonio wasn’t enthused. Indeed, it quite the opposite – he wanted nothing to do with it. “He was so negative about everything back then,” says Juanita. “It was just the state of mind he was in. He was tired and worn out. But I believed we could make it work. So I convinced him to come to a seminar with me. And that’s when he, too, started to see the potential.”
Jumping the gun
In fact, he was so inspired listening to other people’s stories at the seminar on Saturday that he dove into action the following Monday morning, without any help from anyone. “I had the kind of personality where I thought I could just start showing the Sales and Marketing Plan before I really understood it,” he recalls.
We are so grateful that we can continue our business through our children. That is a real honor for us. – Antonio Maldonado
He realized his mistake immediately. “I remember the very first time I showed it. After about two minutes, my mind went completely blank. I didn’t have anything else to say!” Not knowing what to do, “I turned to my wife and said, ‘And now Juanita will explain the rest.’ She bailed me out, as she always does,” he laughs.
He’s the first to admit he learned a lot from his missteps, stating that if he had it to do over again, he would have learned more about the products earlier on, too. “Getting a good customer base is very important when you’re first starting out. You have to know the products to do that, and I wasn’t very good at that in the beginning, either,” he admits.
Practice makes perfect
Practice helped him perfect his presentation skills. Soon they were off and running as a team, building on each other’s strengths, filling in for each other where there were gaps. For example, says Antonio, “Juanita is a great people person. She is always thinking about others and wanting to help any way she can. For me, that came a little harder. I was used to working with things, not people.”
Another lesson they learned was the importance of developing leadership. “In our business, there is a balance between working with people and promoting products. You have to do both,” says Antonio.
He and Juanita say reading and studying helped them develop into the leaders they eventually became. “Our mentors taught us that leaders don’t just read for enjoyment, they read with a purpose, and they were right,” says Antonio about the training materials they enthusiastically explored. “They gave us some incredible books, and of course, we had an incredible business plan, too.”
They do the same thing with those in their own groups. But today, there are more materials than ever to share with IBOs, including mobile apps that explain the business model and show income potential, product demonstration videos, basic sales training programs, and succession planning guidelines. The materials are available in Spanish (and other languages), too.
They say you can’t always tell at first who the leaders in any group are going to be. “It seems there are always surprises,” says Juanita. “Some people we thought had the right attitudes and personalities turned out to be not so good at business building. It’s kind of like us. I was very quiet and introverted, and didn’t seem at all like the kind of person who could become a leader.”
She may not have been a big talker, but she was a good listener, and she was always paying attention.
“Listening to your mentors is so important,” Juanita advises. “Especially when it comes to goals. You really need someone to guide you and help you focus on the right things.”
Creating a better lifestyle
Their first goals were to own their home and create a better lifestyle for their children (who now number four), including opportunities for a good education. “We’ve accomplished all that and more,” says Antonio. “Our lives have changed dramatically, like night and day. We came to this country with nothing and I was so lost before we started our business. It has given us so much I cannot even put it into words.”
Just as their mentors helped them clarify and achieve their goals, they feel a great responsibility to do the same thing for others. “Dreams are very important; they’re what drive us,” observes Antonio. “But you need to set goals, too: What do you have to do to reach your dreams? How long do you want to take to get there? Without setting goals, we don’t go anywhere. We need to help clearly define what the goals are and the steps that need to be taken to achieve them.”
The couple take the time to sit down with downline IBOs and help them make day-to-day decisions. “It’s our responsibility to take them by the hand and walk alongside of them, always reminding them that they can do it. Because belief in yourself is also essential if you are going to succeed,” Juanita observes.
Other qualities they feel are important include integrity, honesty, and respecting other people. “And if you are going to reach Diamond, you need a lot of determination and persistence,” says Juanita. “The road to success is not an easy one,” adds Antonio. “You need the power to push forward like a car needs gas in the tank.”
A priceless gift
They always tried to set good examples for their children, too, and were very excited when their daughter, Angelica, decided to join the family business and follow in their footsteps. She was just three years old when her parents started their business. Now 21, she attended her first Achievers last year. “It’s such a blessing to us,” says Antonio. “We’re so close. She wants to be with us; she wants to be involved and learn. Last year, when she was doing a grand opening, showing some products for the first time, she was so nervous. And then she sent a Tweet saying, ‘Hey, I’m watching my dad and learning from the best. This is incredible!’ When I saw that I almost cried – such a priceless gift to me!”
In fact, the Maldonados feel it’s just one of many gifts they’ve received over the years. “This great country and our great business have given us the opportunity to achieve our dreams, and we will always be grateful,” says Antonio.
Diamond Income Disclosure