Paul Meyer took the lessons passed down by his parents during his childhood years and used them to realize lofty goals and to develop his entrepreneurial spirit as a youth.
- At 12 years old, Paul started his own bicycle repair business, refurbishing and selling more than 300 bicycles by the time he was 16.
- Between 13 and 18 years old, Paul set national records for selling magazines and picking prunes, earned the highest Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout, and broke physical fitness records in the Army.
- At 19 years old, Paul set insurance sales records; at 22, he became the youngest member of the Million Dollar Round Table; and at 27, he became a millionaire.
Paul’s early successes and setbacks with his entrepreneurial endeavors helped form him into the determined, disciplined leader he would become, building a foundation that would lead to his owning more than 40 diverse companies worldwide and becoming the pioneer of an entire industry.
Growing up in California during the Great Depression, Paul learned from an early age the resourcefulness and creativity which would characterize his future success. After telling his father he would like a bicycle, Paul’s father took him to the local junkyard and instructed Paul to select a discarded and damaged bicycle. After cleaning, fixing and painting the bicycle, Paul discovered not only the satisfaction of a job well done, but the merits in seeing the potential in all things. This led Paul to begin his own business repairing and selling bicycles at 12 years old. By the time he was 16, he had refurbished and sold more than 300 bicycles.
Paul also worked from an early age as a fruit picker. At 16, Paul decided he was not satisfied to just work the job he was given. He would excel. As a prune picker, he found out the record for a day’s work was 60 boxes of prunes. Of breaking this record, Paul later recalled: “I got up at two o’clock in the morning. Hanging a flashlight from a tree, I began to fill boxes with prunes.” At the end of the day Paul set a world record of 101 boxes (5,050 pounds) gathered by one individual in one day. This experience only strengthened Paul’s drive to succeed and his willingness to work hard – both qualities that served him well throughout a lifetime of business success.
Paul was also a committed member of the Boy Scouts of America, and he enthusiastically worked his way through all the scouting levels to achieve the highest scouting award of Eagle Scout.
While serving as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army in 1946 following World War II, Paul was known yet again for his entrepreneurial spirit. As a daring and confident parachutist, Paul made money by substituting for his more risk-averse fellow recruits and collecting their jump pay at fifty dollars each jump. Still, Paul made his name in another area of army life. Shortly after being stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, Paul was appointed as a physical fitness instructor, due to the fact that he shattered all existing records in the Army’s physical fitness test.
After military service, he decided to sell insurance, but he found life insurance sales a daunting challenge. Through this struggle, he developed his “Million Dollar Personal Success Plan” with the final element of persistence. Eventually his persistence paid off—he became a top producer, leading two of the nation’s largest life insurance companies. By the time he was 27 he was a millionaire and the youngest agent to attain membership in the Million Dollar Round Table.
Because of Paul’s remarkable success in insurance sales, he was invited to join a new insurance company and to manage the sales department. With Paul’s sales skills and his tenacious work ethic he set a national record when he recruited 832 sales associates in one year, building the largest national insurance agency in North America. The company grew at a record-setting pace, although Paul soon faced his biggest setback, as unethical business practices by his superiors soon saw the failure of the company. From this, Paul saw opportunity, not defeat. These were the beginnings of what would soon turn into the most successful and transformational chapter in his life.