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The Next
The emerging industries of wellness
and direct selling are combining to
create the next generation of wealth.
by Paul Zane Pilzer


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A S A N EC O N OM I S T, I D E A L broad demographic that includes mil- The Wellness Industry
WITH L ARG E -SC ALE TR E N DS lions of “ordinary people.” I call this the Ironically, of the $2 trillion we spend
I N T H E E C O N O M Y, O F T E N “democratization of American wealth.” on health care in this country, most has
ME A SUR E D I N B ILLION S OR Let’s take a quick look at how this works, very little to do with health.
TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. and then see some of the most powerful “Health” is defi ned as “being sound in
But people don’t often grasp the mean- ways to ensure that you can be part of body, mind or spirit,” but what we call
ing of billions and trillions. We aren’t this exciting trend. “health care” has a very different focus,
really concerned about “the economy”— and would more appropriately be called
we’re concerned about “Our economy.” The Democratization of the sickness industry.
We want to know, “What can I do in this American Wealth Sickness industry: Products and services
new economy to succeed, to take care In 1991, t here were 3.6 mil lion provided reactively to people after they
of myself and my family?” I wrote Th e American families with a net worth of contract an illness, ranging from a com-
Next Millionaires to explain where our $1 million or more. Today, there are mon cold to cancerous tumors. These
economy has been, where it is today, and more than 10 million such families and products and services seek to either treat
where it’s going—but even more impor- we are adding new millionaire families the symptoms of a disease or eliminate
t a nt ly, to at the rate of one million per year. the disease.
bring all of You can see dramatic evidence of this Wellness industry: Products and ser-
this down at the very top echelon of U.S. wealth, vices provided proactively to healthy
to the level the billionaires on the Forbes 400 list of people—that is, those without an exist-
of “you r the richest Americans. When this list ing disease—to make them feel even
economy.” was released in 1981, it contained mostly healthier and look better, to slow the
Si nc e familiar names such as Rockefeller, eff ects of aging, or to prevent diseases
1991, U.S. Astor and Morgan and represented a sig- from developing in the fi rst place.
household nificant portion of total U.S. household I stumbled upon the wellness industry
we a lt h wealth. Twenty-four years later, only in the 1990s, as so many do, through
quadru- 40 of the original 400 remain on the an experience with my own health.
pled from list, and the wealth of all 400 combined
$13 trillion is only $1 trillion, less than 2 percent
to about of the $52 trillion in U.S. household
PAUL ZANE PILZER IS $52 trillion wealth. The extremely rich, the top 10
ECONOMIST, MULTIMILLIONAIRE in 20 05. on the list, account for almost 25 per-
Reading cent of the $1 trillion total, but when we
SEVEN BEST-SELLING BOOKS. s u c h f i g- look closer, we see that all of these top
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PAUL u re s , you 10 were born poor or middle-class.
WWW.PAULZANEPILZER.COM. might say, Over the next 10 years, as U.S. house-
“ T h at’s hold wealth doubles to $100 trillion, at
i ntere st- least $10 trillion of that new wealth will
ing… that sounds like good news.” But represent new entrepreneurs coming to
it becomes very personal when we look the table. That $10 trillion represents
at what this actually means to individ- another 10 million new millionaires.
ual entrepreneurs who are involved in A great opportunity lies ahead, not
the most economically vibrant emerging for just a chosen few, but for literally
new industries. millions of “ordinary people,” individ-
There is something very different ual entrepreneurs who were not born
about this enormous increase in house- into wealthy families, but who choose
hold wealth—something that has never to apply themselves in the new and
happened before, and which has sig- emerging industries where this new
nifi cant implications for people’s indi- wealth is being created. Two of the
vidual lives: Th is growth is occurring strongest emerging industries where
not only among an exclusive group this growth will occur are wellness and
of the already-rich, but throughout a network marketing.


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For 10 years (against medical advice), I eating and living healthier than anyone Today, numerous scientif ic stud-
had put off getting expensive knee sur- ever before in history. They are primarily ies have validated what a few million
gery. I started taking a dietary supple- wealthy people who, as they start to have Americans seem to have known all along:
ment called glucosamine—and within money, start looking for ways they can There are hundreds or thousands of effi-
a year, the cartilage was repaired. Th e be healthier outside the medical estab- cacious treatments to make people feel
surgeon was positively amazed when he lishment. Today, for example, this sec- healthier, to slow the effects of aging, or
examined my X-rays. I no longer needed tor spends more than $70 billion annu- to prevent diseases from developing in
the operation. ally on vitamins and food supplements. the fi rst place. But until you fi rst experi-
Th is experience piqued my interest. I Who are these people? Mostly baby ence one of these treatments working for
wanted to fi nd out what else my surgeon boomers: prosperous people from the you or a member of your family, you are
and my other medical providers didn’t ages of 40 to 60. Baby boomers are the probably going to remain a skeptic and
know. I also noticed that people were fi rst generation in history who refuse to miss out on improving the quality of
spending more on new things such as blindly accept the aging process. They your life, and reducing your long-term
exercise programs and fitness coaches, are also a powerful economic force; they health care costs.
supplements and organic foods, alterna- represent only 28 percent of our popula- The best way to learn about wellness
tive medicine and anti-aging therapies. tion—yet this group and their spending is through someone close to you who
I began to research this field and soon represent 50 percent of our economy. has had a wellness experience. You see
arrived at an amazing conclusion: Th is Until recently, marketing to baby your college roommate and go, “My
new and emerging industry, which only boomers had been all about how to help God, John, you look great. You look so
a decade earlier had hardly existed, was them remember what it was like to be healthy—what did you do?” You bump
already a $200 billion business. young—oldies music, retro clothes and into a wellness experience and start to
Th is represents an extraordinary eco- ’50s-styled automobiles. Now, it has find out that there is a whole wellness
nomic opportunity. The millions of gone a step further. Today, boomers industry out there, with all sorts of new
people spending billions of dollars to are starting to buy things that actually products and services.
further their wellness represent a new make them younger in terms of having a
and growing economic sector who are healthier body, more acute senses and a Distribution in the New
sharper mind. Economy
In my 1990 book Unlimited Wealth,
Network I wrote that the new wealth in that
Marketing and decade would be created mainly by
Wellness people who distributed things, rather
As I began exploring than by people who made things. The
this fascinating new great fortunes of the 1990s would be
industry, I found myself made in distribution.
asking a basic question: But that opportunity has come and
How are people learn- gone. The fortunes to be made today
ing about all these new and in the years ahead will be made
approache s to t heir by those who are involved in teaching
health and fitness? people about new products and services
Certainly not that they either didn’t know existed
through their doctors. or didn’t know were now affordable.
Doctors, hospitals and Intellectual distribution, as opposed to
pharmaceutical com- physical distribution, is where the great-
panies are mostly part est fortunes are being made today and
of the “sickness indus- will continue to be made for at least the
t r y ” b e c au s e , u nt i l next decade.
recently, most scien- Manufacturers today report that the
tists and public policy greatest bottleneck they have is not in
leaders viewed well- creating the next great new product; it’s
ness or preventive care how to reach people and teach them that
as “quackery.” these new products exist.


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People like to do things the old way. Network marketing is both the oldest The Home-Based
They fight change. In everything we do, method of sales communication and also Business Boom
from shopping and cooking to taking care the newest. And it’s the best method we The advent of intellectual distribu-
of our health, we often have the nostalgic have today to change someone’s paradigm tion is one reason that network market-
view that the good old days were better, and teach them about a new product or ing offers such a favorable opportunity,
that the good old ways are the best ways. service—a new way of doing something but it is not the only reason. Another
But the “good old days” were times of that they wouldn’t have gotten by read- powerful factor is the current boom in
manure in the streets and rampant diph- ing a magazine, surfi ng the Internet or home-based businesses.
theria, of abject poverty and wretched liv- watching television. Only 20 years ago, people who worked
ing conditions. Person-to-person, word-of-mouth com- from home were immediately suspect,
The truth is that the “good old days” munication represents the cutting edge of as if that implied there was something
were not so good. Nevertheless, people intellectual distribution. Th is is why we wrong with them, that they couldn’t get a
tend to cling to the known and resist are seeing so many Fortune 500 compa- “real job.” Today, the sharpest and richest

Of the $2 trillion we spend on health care,

most has very little to do with health.
the unknown. Consequently, when they nies jumping into the direct selling arena, people we know are the people who work
watch television, read magazines or surf and Wall Street investors such as Warren at home.
the Internet, they tend to look for things Buffet entering the business. One factor in this change is a massive
that reinforce what they already know. Network marketing has grown steadily shift in the dominant unit of technology,
So where will they learn? There is over the last 20 years, increasing 91 per- the building block of our total economy.
really only one place: from other people. cent in just the last decade. With more When I graduated from Wharton 30
The most effective way we have to teach than 13 million Americans and 53 mil- years ago, I went to work at Citibank,
people the new method is one-on-one, lion people worldwide involved, it is not because I was interested in banking,
word-of-mouth communication. Th is is now a $100 billion global industry. Yet but because I wanted access to the best
why, even though we have sophisticated as impressive as this is, it’s not hard to technology, and Citibank had the biggest,
video-conferencing tools available, busi- see that the real growth in this business best computers available. Back then, that
nesspeople will still fly clear across the model has only just begun. was the only way to have access to the best
country to meet face-to-face when they For one thing, demand is increasing technology. Computers were expensive
have important issues to decide. exponentially. Because of the ever-acceler- mainframes owned and managed exclu-
ating pace of technological advancement, sively by large businesses, which gave them
Network Marketing in the there is a growing flood of new products an enormous competitive advantage.
Years Ahead and services that desperately need their Today, the opposite is the case. You are
I have always been keenly interested story told in the marketplace—stories more likely to fi nd the hottest and best
in education; I taught college students which no amount of screaming TV ads new technology on the desk of an entre-
for 20 years at New York University, and or sprawling Internet pop-ups and banner preneur sitting in his home office.
in the 1990s, I developed an educational ads can effectively tell. The unit of technology has changed
software product line. One of the most Neil Offen, president of the Direct from a $2 million mainframe that served
exciting things I’m seeing about this new Selling Association, predicts that, at the huge corporations, to a home computer
crop of 10 million millionaires is that they current rate of increase, worldwide some you can put on your desktop for well under
are more often teachers at heart, rather 200 million people will enter this indus- $1,000—and which is far more powerful
than conventional businesspeople. They try over the next 10 years, effectively than the mainframe. As a home-based
are people who learn about a new product quadrupling its current percentage of entrepreneur, you can now do business
or new service and adopt it for themselves the population. far better than someone who’s working in
and their families—but they don’t stop Network marketing is already a force a large company and has to deal with the
there. They then go out and teach new to be reckoned with—but its growth will overhead. The big companies just can’t
people what they just learned. explode in the coming decade. innovate fast enough.


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In the ’80s, the rule was the bigger you create if you don’t have the health thing breaks, whether that means losing
the company, the newer and better the to enjoy it. your job, your family or your health.
technology. Today, the rule often is the The concept of “quality of life,” which But if we are fortunate enough to find
bigger the company, the older and more we take for granted today, is actually a a way to integrate work into your home,
out-of-date the technology. fairly recent invention. Our economy and then we don’t have to think about bal-
Where are the greatest opportunities living standards have grown to the point ance between work and family so much
today? Even for people starting right where we not only expect to make a liv- as how we can weave the two together.
out of school, the best opportunities are ing, but we also expect to have the best There is actually something ironic
not to go work for some big company possible experience doing it. about this. The United States started out
(unless it’s a company that makes tools Twenty percent of the average corpo- as an agrarian society of entrepreneurs,
for individuals), but to go into business rate workday is spent just commuting to where everyone was a small-business per-
for yourself as an entrepreneur. and from work—and up to 50 percent of son. The rise of the giant corporations,
the time spent actually inside the work- which my generation took for granted as
Healthy Family, Healthy place is wasted around the water cooler, the “normal” employment path, is really
Economy, Healthy Society gossiping and talking to other people. a historical anomaly. And it’s rapidly slip-
The change in technology is one rea- Today, more and more people don’t ping into the history books as we return
son we are experiencing such a boom in want to spend their time chatting with to our entrepreneurial roots.
home-based businesses. Another reason other workers in the office—they’d rather
is that working from home is a more spend that time with their spouse or their A “Perfect Storm”
personally satisfying way to live. children. They’d rather get their work In many ways, wellness and network
I n t he ne w ec onomy, t he she er done in a few hours, and then get back to marketing are natural sister industries.
quantity of compensation is no longer the business of being with their families. For one thing, wellness is rich in the kinds
enough. More and more, we have come For these people, a home-based business of new technologies that are best learned
to realize we also want a certain quality today is both a more efficient way to work person-to-person. And for another, it is
of compensation, too. We don’t simply and a lifestyle choice. often the same quest for a better qual-
want money; we want lifestyle. We often talk about the challenge of ity of life that fi nds expression both in
It doesn’t matter how much money keeping a balance between our work and exploring wellness and in pursuing an
you earn if you never get to see your our families. Picture it like a seesaw, with entrepreneurial, home-based business.
family. It doesn’t matter how many pos- work on one end and family on the other. Wellness and network marketing also
sessions you have if you never get to When you’re constantly playing these pri- both represent enormous financial oppor-
use or play with them. And it doesn’t orities against each other, your life swings tunities; either opportunity alone has tre-
matter how great of a personal economy and swings, until eventually the whole mendous potential to create new wealth.
Some companies have combined the best
of both worlds, creating a “perfect storm”
of unprecedented economic opportunity:
A convergence of forces enabling entre-
preneurs to create a satisfying lifestyle,
and—at the same time—tremendous
new wealth.
Over the next 10 years, the U.S. econ-
omy will create 10 million new million-
aires. You have the opportunity to start
now and become one of them. You should
do so not only for the benefits in health
and happiness to yourself and your fam-
ily, but also because you will be adding
to our economy while you also add to
the wellness and personal fulfi llment of
many others. In so doing, you will be
contributing immeasurably to your com-
munity, your nation and the world. YB


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