Things in life happen for a reason, right?
Tom Moody graduated from St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN, with a degree in marketing in 1981. A red-headed, gregarious and athletic Irishman who spent his nights playing 16-inchsoftball with his buddies, and then hanging out late at night rehashing the day’s games; he wasenjoying life, but hadn’t found a career path that excited him.
“I was willing to work hard, but I didn’t want to work for someone else my whole life,” Tom says. “I knew there was a better way, but I didn’t know what it was.”At that time, the United States was in a severe recession, and Tom was unable to find a “real” job. He applied for a marketing position with Dr. Pepper/7-Up, but the only job available was delivering sodas to retail stores, and Tom thought the green uniform they wanted him to wear made him look like a leprechaun.
And then there was Corky’s Catering – he delivered food on the weekends. His full-time job during the week was selling tobacco for American Brands in the Cigar division. This sales job required him to drive through his territory making sure his products were on display or to sell a new account if the store he entered didn’t currently sell his products. While the company car was nice, he was having trouble making ends meet on his $11,000 annual salary.
In 1985, Tom’s buddy pulled up to a softball game in a brand new Monte Carlo. “I saw that people my age were passing me.” he says. “As I looked around at my teammates, I saw that they were getting on with their lives, and I was stuck.”
He decided selling insurance might be a way to make a lot of money. Selling insurance, however, was uncomfortable, and he hated it. “I realized after I was certified that I would have to call on friends and family to sell them insurance. I didn’t like the feeling that I was preying on people I loved,” he says.
So then came mutual funds. Tom attended classes to earn a Series 6 Stock License that would allow him to sell mutual funds. “Everyone was doing it, and mutual funds were new back then,” he says. “It looked like the right thing to do, and I didn’t want to be left behind.”
An insurance opportunity arose when some of Tom’s friends who worked at the Chicago Board of Trade asked him to find disability insurance for them. Tom’s firm didn’t represent disability insurance, but he had a family friend who owned an insurance agency that he could partner with.
In November of 1985, the course of Tom’s life changed, but he didn’t know it at the time. On a cold and drizzly November day in Midlothian, IL, a suburb of Chicago, Tom sat in the waiting area of an insurance office. Sitting next to Tom was a man named Robert (Bob) Montgomery, who became the founder and CEO of Reliv.
An entrepreneur at heart, Reliv Founder Bob Montgomery figured out early in life what he wanted: to be his own boss. Like people all over the world, Bob wanted to be in charge of his own time, and have financial security to do and have the things in life he wanted. His 'Why' for founding Reliv was to create a company that gives others an opportunity to be their own boss and to help others do the same. He wanted to show people a different way, helping them to grow personally, develop leadership skills, enjoy more time and have financial freedom.
In 1988, along with his wife, Sandy, Bob founded Reliv after experiencing health benefits from the nutritional discoveries of their friend Dr. Theodore Kalogris. Bob quickly recognized the vast potential of Dr. Ted's formula, which would become Reliv’s flagship product — Reliv Classic®.
“Like many people, I had taken vitamins for years not really doing myself any good. Sandy and I started taking Dr. Ted’s formula in 1982, and we saw how the product helped our family's health,” says Bob.
Bob and Sandy could have enjoyed the product and stopped there. But they felt inspired to share their discovery with the world. And so Reliv was born.
According to Sandy, “We gathered some of our closest friends, sat down at our kitchen table with yellow notepads and began to design the company that would become Reliv.”
Bob hired Tom Moody to sell stock in the company. After two years of raising almost three million dollars, Tom’s job selling stock for the company ended. Bob called Tom and asked him to drive to Decatur, IL, where the corporate offices were based at the time. “I thought they were going to make me President of the company,” says Tom. “I bought a new car, a brief case and a suit to celebrate my new title as an executive.”
That didn’t happen.
Instead, Bob and Sandy offered Tom the position of being the first Reliv Distributor in Illinois. “I didn’t want it,” says Tom. “I didn’t want to sell insurance to my friends and family, and I definitely didn’t want to try to recruit them into a network marketing business. I told Bob and Sandy, ‘No, you can’t make me sell powder out of my trunk.’”
Bob and Sandy then offered Tom a position on the Reliv Board of Directors. “I felt I had a moral obligation to sit on the board. I had sold stock to people I knew, and I wanted to make sure their investment did well,” he says. “I agreed to the seat on the Board.”
After about six months, though, Tom began seeing the checks Reliv sent to Distributors. “I saw checks going out each month,” he says, “and I wanted to see for myself what was actually going on.”
He hopped on a plane down to Florida, one of the fastest growing areas for Reliv sales at the time. “I went to a meeting and sat in the back of the room,” he says. “I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a bunch of guys chanting or doing anything illegal. The last thing I wanted was for 60 Minutes to show up at my door and say, ‘Mr. Moody, we have some questions for you.’”
He sat through the first portion of the meeting that covered how the company was founded, the product line, and then a few product testimonials.
Satisfied that the company was solid and wouldn’t get into any legal issues, Tom was about to leave when the last woman to give her health testimony approached the stage. “I didn’t want to be rude and stand up while she was talking, so I waited until she finished.” Listening to her story, Tom realized the woman had the same blood pressure issues his mom dealt with. “That story hit me like a ton of bricks,” he says. “I thought ‘If I have something that can help my mom, and I don’t tell her about it, there’s something wrong with me.’”
He hung out through the rest of the meeting, and then approached people afterward. “I went to the people who told their stories because I wanted to see if they told the same story. I wanted to make sure they weren’t lying,” he says. He left the meeting not only satisfied that there wouldn’t be any legal issues, but also excited about an opportunity he had previously turned down.
“My wife picked me up at O’Hare airport, and saw the look on my face,” he says. “Her response was ‘Oh no, you’re going to do this aren’t you?’”