riginally from Trinidad/Tobago, Edward Hartley holds the record of being the highest earning network marketer in the history of his homeland. From very humble beginnings, he came to the “land of opportunity” with his parents, who quickly climbed the social ladder through hard work and entrepreneurial zest. Living in New York city, Edward became a musician and financial analyst, but he didn’t feel fulfilled until he became a successful network marketer. Through mentorship and personal development he rose to the top of his company and built a global business. Today Edward delights in doing what he was born to do: providing people with financial education and a vehicle for economic improvement.—J.G.
What was your childhood like?
I was born on a small island in the Caribbean called Trinidad and Tobago. Until the age of six, I lived in a one-room house or shanty. I have one sister, and our entire family of four slept in one bed. My mother worked in a laundromat as a steam presser, and my dad was a taxi driver. They did everything to keep food on the table. We shared a common bathroom, which was more like an outhouse. The shower was outdoors in a center courtyard and there was a kitchen across the courtyard, so it was a communal living situation. In 1967 my mother left the family to go work in the U.S., which we considered the “promised land.” I was four when she left and I didn’t see her again till I was six. When I got to America, she had the greatest surprise for us: she had found an apartment! My sister and I shared a room, but we now had our own beds, which made me feel like a prince. That was in Brooklyn, New York, and my parents worked multiple jobs. My mother cleaned houses and cared for children, and my father did deliveries and drove trucks. Doing everything possible to get ahead, after a few years, my parents were able to save up enough money to buy a four-bedroom home in Queens. Now we were really moving up: not only did my sister and I have our own beds, we had our own rooms. I thought life was great. My parents always emphasized education, be-
cause they did not get one. I excelled in school. I became a musician—I’m an accomplished pianist. I also completed a rigorous program at Brooklyn Tech, because I thought I was going to be an architect. I was always kind of entrepreneurial. My uncle had given me a camera when I was 13, and I started my first business in high school. I would go to school events and take pictures of the football players and the cheerleaders. Then I would offer them for sale. I would put up my money and produce these contact sheets, and then show up and say, “I have this great picture of you. You want to buy it?” That’s how I financed my final year of high school and going into college. College didn’t go exactly the way I wanted. I thought I’d be an architect, but I ran out of money. I ended up studying economics in a New York state college and I fell in love with finance. I cut my teeth working in financial services for the early stage of my career.
When did you discover network marketing?
At the age of 18, I went on a road trip with a friend I had known since 1969 when we lived in Brooklyn. He invited me and we ended up in Greensboro, North Carolina, where we attended a network marketing meeting. After the event, we got on a tour bus and drove past George Halsey’s house. He was a well-known leader and top earner in the company.
Our Jan/Feb 2017 issue theme is “To Love Is to Grow.” Dr. John C. Maxwell talks about his love for network marketing and a new class he is l...