Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn grew up as an only child to a beautiful couple that owned and worked a farm in Caldwell, Idaho. His father was a minister. He left college just after one year to work as a stock clerk for department store Sears. He was convinced he would be better off taking a salaried job to support his family. Rohn plodded along for several years, but by age 25, he realized that instead of building a life, he was living in a rut, in debt, with no money to speak of.
It wasn’t that Rohn didn’t want more for his life, but he simply did not see what was possible or possess the tools to expand his perspective. By this time, Rohn was a husband and father who worked hard just to scrape by. He was frustrated that he didn’t have the money to fulfill his promise of providing a better life for his family. While actively seeking ways to improve his lot, a friend invited Rohn to attend a seminar presented by Earl Shoaff, a motivational speaker and salesman. Shoaff’s message and lifestyle struck a chord with Rohn, who says he instantly knew he wanted what Shoaff had. He chose the path of a network marketer.
“One year of college, and I thought I was thoroughly educated,” Rohn told his audiences.
Jim Rohn joined the same company Shoaff was involved with; AbundaVita and became a distributor of the company’s product line. Shoaff challenged the young man to become a millionaire. During the next five years, Shoaff tutored Rohn with simple but profound life philosophies rooted in personal development: work harder on yourself than you do on your job; your income is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy; and for things to change, you must change. He began a process of personal development that culminated in him becoming a millionaire by age 31.
“There is nothing mystical about his philosophy,” says SUCCESS Publisher Darren Hardy. “He always said, ’There are no new fundamentals. Truth is not new; it’s old. ’ Jim taught us that success is simple and is the result of sticking to the basic, but mostly missed, fundamentals. The philosophies he taught were true 2,000 years ago and will be true 200 years from now.”
In 1957, Rohn resigned his distributorship with AbundaVita and joined Nutri-Bio, another direct selling company. It was at this point that the company’s founders, including Shoaff, started to mentor him. After this mentorship, Rohn built one of the largest organizations in the company. In 1960 when Nutri-Bio expanded into Canada, Shoaff and the other founders selected Rohn as a vice president for the organization. Jim Rohn acquired his popularity through network marketing. He ventured into public speaking in 1963 with audiences all over the world.
Jim Rohn mentored Mark R. Hughes (the founder of Herbalife International) and life coach Tony Robbins in the late 1970s. Others who credit Rohn for his influence on their careers include authors Mark Victor Hansen founder of Hallmark innovators Conglomerate company limited and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup book series), author/lecturer Brian Tracy, Todd Smith, and T. Harv Eker.