rawan Prajogo and Jirath Submongkonkul are Southeast-Asian network marketer leaders who recently became top earners in U.S.-based skincare company. Building the business side by side under one distributorship, they reached Double Diamond in December 2014 after just two years with their company. When asked about the size of their team, they say they don’t focus on the numbers, because they just keep growing. Irawan and Jirath have their minds and hearts set on changing lives around the world. Their company is already open in over 100 countries and offers a technology platform that allows its associates to build a seamless global business, including in countries they have never visited. Irawan is the spokesperson in the story below, as Jirath had to take a last-minute trip. —J.G.
Tell us a little about your background. I was born in Indonesia, but my parents sent me to school in Singapore from second grade onwards. I finished my high school there, then moved to the U.S. for my university degree. I studied hotel management at UNLV and stayed in Las Vegas for about a year afterwards to finish my internship and get my degree. I went back to Asia in 1997 around the time the financial crisis hit. Not many companies were hiring, so with my family we started our own Manpower agency, pairing skilled workers with businesses in need of their specialized abilities. We mostly sent Indonesian professionals overseas to work all over Southeast Asia. Because success in this field is all about making connections, you have to spend a lot of time getting your name out there and crafting relationships as you start your business. We wanted to enter the U.S., but due to the regulations—for instance the maximum stay for visitors is only six months—that didn’t work for us. We wanted to give our people longer contracts of at least two
years. We always tried to match people with the proper jobs and made sure they were well taken care of abroad. We were responsible if something went wrong with the worker overseas, as the family could come after us. I did that for 10 years, traveling quite a bit to look for new clients and visit our agents overseas. Our business also expanded into the Middle East. We were careful about the partners we chose to work with in each of those countries. My job was to go on location and make sure all the benefits were being delivered and all promises honored. It was exhausting because of the different time zones and I was on call 24/7.
How did you come across network marketing? In Asia, particularly where I live in Indonesia, network marketing doesn’t have a good name. A part of the problem is that you rarely hear of anybody having success in the business here. The people who are involved in MLM are always trying to sell and recruit. MLM is one of two industries that’s frowned upon—the other one being insurance. When you meet someone in insurance and they’re offering you a policy, typically you say, “I already got it,” even if you do not have it, just to shut the person up. Same with MLM. Some of my friends got involved in it and asked me to join them. I said, “We’ll see. Let me just use the products for now.” Our Manpower business took a lot of my time. Thankfully I was still single, but as I was thinking about my future I realized I couldn’t be traveling all the time. “How am I going to be able to settle down?” I wondered. I imagined if I had a girlfriend in one of the countries I traveled to, she’d ask me, “Why are you always away?” I didn’t think a long-distance relationship would work, so I started to look around and ask some questions to find out what proper network marketing really is. I believe we