While multilevel marketing might still be taboo for some, many affiliated with the companies that offer it are able to fashion a different kind of livelihood for themselves. In a legitimate setup, multilevel sales can be supplementary profit. Even Hollywood actor Chris Pratt confessed in a Graham Norton interview that he reached the top in multi-level marketing as a teen for about two-three years in sales. The spoils are real apparently; on Conan, he was honest how it had taught him a lot. The lesson: Multilevel marketing has some enviable advantages, really.
Given enough focus and confidence in a recognized organization, you may eventually have your own managed schedule for one, and later on, more free time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. One such local company that offers an open platform of network marketing is Frontrow International, a multi-level sales organization hinged on U.S. manufactured beauty supplements and other products.
It would be an understatement to say that Frontrow International president R.S. Francisco, or Raymond as he is also known, took the road less travelled when it comes to success. By passion, Raymond is an actor, a commercial and film director, and also a producer on top of being a successful businessman. One of his first goals in founding Frontrow was to banish the stigma that has smeared legitimate multilevel sales groups for several years.
“I am technically the president (for Frontrow International locally), but I don’t see myself as the president. I don’t act like one. I tell the members 'I am not your president, I am just your business partner. I’m not your employer, you’re not my employee; we’re a team."
Raymond admits that he hadn't exactly set out to deal big in business from the very start. You’ll notice almost immediately upon meeting him that he’s pretty much a living advertisement of the brand he champions. At 47, he says his products of choice to stay young-lookinh are Frontline’s Luxxe White, the range’s approved glutathione offering as well as their Luxxe Renew 8-berry extract recently endorsed by Dayanara Torres.
Before Frontrow International, the colorful story of Raymond's path to financial stability might surprise you. He told us of a time when the reality around him seemed bigger than any dream he might have had for himself. "Some people just want to earn. When I was young, I didn’t have anyone to tell me (about how to earn). I didn’t have a car, I couldn’t travel. My dad retired when I was in grade 3 or 4 and my mom was just a housewife."
In the early days of his youth, Raymond only pursued his main passion, theater acting. "My basic training was acting. I didn’t know I was gonna be an actor. I thought I was just playing but I enjoyed it a lot. When I went to college (UP), I still did plays but I realized you can get paid doing this. In the Philippines, when you do plays, you should have a fallback [job] so I did advertising."
Befittingly, the turn of events in his life before business from being a student, then a struggling amateur actor, eventually a paid actor, and then a TV commercial director is an inspiring story. From his theater involvement in college to having Rudy Francisco as a past matinee idol father (who lest we forget to mention, portrayed the Lolo in the McDo “Karen” TVC spot), Raymond’s acting background and roots became rather promising. Reality however, interrupted his overture.
At this point Raymond did what many young people have to do temporarily for financial reasons, he stopped school. "I stopped when I was in second year (college) because I had to work. I had to do odd jobs (even as a promo salesman in a department store). I still did plays. I played Steven Spinella’s role in Angels in America. One of my old batchmates watched it and told me how well I did." He tried to continue acting, but Raymond hit a phase though where the love of art just wasn't enough to pay the bills.
[related: In Focus: Know Why All Eyes Are On Rosenthal Tee's Spunky Formalwear Brand]
For a while, he had small stints at directing plays and small productions until an actress friend pointed out that he should be wiser for profit and not just carry on for art’s sake. Through a connection, he applied to be an assistant director for commercials. For an assistant director's role, standout theater talents with command and presence are often hired. So, Raymond became one.
"My acting stopped for seven years when I didn’t do any plays whatsoever (as a commercial director). I’d do five commercials in one week when I was directing which is 20 commercials in one month.”
The directing job was great but he still missed acting. He was introduced to multilevel marketing during this period of advertising success, and it only opened doors to better work-life balance opportunities hence more time to act again. Eventually, he and a friend became the top earners.
Over time, Raymond grew restless and pitched an idea back then to his friend and now Frontrow International partner Sam Verzosa. "I told Sam, 'Why don't we put up a company that will prove to the Philippines and eventually the whole world that network marketing is feasible and legitimate?' For me, we can do it legitimately."
Time eventually did tell, and after much research and hard work Frontrow International came to be. The effective skincare and wellness supplements are exclusively manufactured in the U.S., and Frontrow holds the multilevel platform that allows distribution and sale here nationwide.
Together with Sam, Raymond’s involvement in packaging and promoting their products correctly for the Philippine market has reaped a harvest. “Sam and I have traveled great lengths to polish and uplift the face of network marketing.”
Frontrow International so far has grown a healthy young membership population of 5,000 locally and globally boasts about 800,000 active distributors. Right now, Frontrow is openly promoted, shared, and endorsed by a handful of celebrities like Mond Gutierrez, Solenn Heussaff, Boy Abunda, and just recently Ellen Adarna and the last three crowned Miss Universe beauties, Pia Wurtzbach, Iris Mittenaere, and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.
Making it big in the multilevel business gave Raymond back the chance to act once again on the side. This year, he just took home the Sinag Maynila 2017 Best Actor award for his lead gay role in Joel Lamangan's film Bhoy Intsik.
Many have noted the lifestyle Raymond has today and the success of his career. Admitting to being the middle-aged multihyphenate that he is Raymond does have a valuable message for all you restless millenials out there. "Success is a process. But these days, everything is so quick. Even with dating and Tinder or Grindr. Some millennials feel like they’re entitled to an instant result. That’s going to be your enemy in networking. If you expect that to happen, don’t waste your money. There’s a process of building yourself, your team, and then the checks come in."
ALSO READ: Hot Stuff: Who's Excited For Sarah G And James Reid Pairing Up For The 'Miss Granny' Remake?
Photography by the author and from Instagram.com/rsfrancisco888, palabas.tumblr.com