Leading by Example. Living the American Dream
The DSN Lifetime Achievement Award is not given out annually. It is reserved for the true legends of direct selling—those time-tested titans that have shaped the channel and inspired its leadership for decades. The third-ever recipient of this prestigious award is Rudy Revak, the craftsman behind multiple highly successful companies including Symmetry and Xyngular.
Rudy Revak’s launch into the direct selling industry began with a cold call from a total stranger.
A German refugee, Revak was raised on a chicken farm in New Jersey, where his parents, Hungarian and Romanian refugees themselves, fled after the war. Revak was attending school on the GI Bill after returning from Vietnam and working full-time in retail when he received a phone call inviting him to a business presentation that would ultimately change his life.
Revak drove 60 miles to attend that meeting and watched as the man in the front of the room wrote “$30,000” on the board. Revak remembers the man went on to draw circles and squares, explaining discounts and how to build a business, but it was all a blur.
“I didn’t understand any of it,” Revak shared. “I was just focused on the $30,000. If they could show me how to make that—I was in.”
While Revak was desperate for opportunity, this one came with a catch—and not a small one: buy-in would cost him $3,217. “I was 23. I had no money, and my family had no money, but I was excited.”
Revak’s enthusiasm was catching, and his father saw the potential. “They’re showing you how to work smart, not hard,” Revak remembered his father explaining. But $3,217 was out of the question. No one in his family had that amount of money lying around.
A few days later, Revak’s father handed him a check to cover the buy-in costs. He had gone to the bank without his son’s knowledge and leveraged his home and farm to borrow the money. “When he brought me that check, he told me, ‘I want you to have the chance that I never had.’”
The Courage to Try
Revak’s buy-in bought him a basement full of soap, which, he admits, did not make for instant success. But a combination of his German work ethic and mentorship by natural salesmen, like Marty Day, Bill Bailey and Jim Rohn, gave him the boost he needed.
Revak was promoted to area coordinator in Maryland, where he became one of the top five area coordinators in the country. Business was booming. Before his next promotion, the company’s leadership asked him if he would be willing to go to Germany as an assistant vice president—a leap over his scheduled promotion—where his team and overall revenues grew as well.
Revak quickly became the company’s go-to leader. After Germany, he helped grow markets in Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain and Mexico. During a leadership stint in Canada, he was introduced to what would become the foundation for later ventures: nutritional supplementation.
In 1995, Rudy launched his own company, Symmetry, a health and wellness organization, then Xyngular in 2009, a company based on a single-line compensation plan and single product, which he eventually merged into one company. Revak then led the acquisition and rebranding of PUREhaven in 2016.
“I have always had the courage to try,” he shared. “I had to learn the business; how to communicate with people; and how to sell. I had to overcome the fear of talking to people. People joining today have the same fears.”
Four Pillars of Success
As he looks back over his career, Revak can point to four core beliefs and behaviors that have helped propel him to decades of success.
1 / Hard Work
Growing up on a chicken farm, Revak learned early on that hard work was essential. When the chicken feeder broke, he remembers his father telling him to go figure out how to fix it. Knowing how to work hard—even when you don’t feel up to the challenge—was his first key to success.
2 / Belief
There are plenty of opportunities for today’s direct sellers to feel down about themselves, and Revak has watched as the world has become accustomed to putting people down and telling them what they can’t accomplish.
“People have a hard time believing in themselves,” he explained. “They think it takes a special person to do uncommon things, but it doesn’t. It’s just ordinary people who do the most incredible, unique things in this world.”
3 / Attitude
People don’t buy your products; they buy you. This mantra has been integral for Revak as he has led and built teams across the world. When direct sellers are energized by their mission, the people they are talking to can’t help but join them. He believes people follow feelings over facts, so enthusiasm is essential.
4 / Persistence
This is where Revak believes the magic is found. Over breakfast early in his career, Revak recalls a mentor asking him why his sales were dismal. After rattling off excuses, his mentor handed him ten paper clips to keep in his left pocket. Every time he talked to a person, the mentor instructed him, he could move a paperclip to his right pocket. At the end of the day, he had better have moved all ten.
“It got me into the activity of what I needed to do,” Revak remembered. “Suddenly, I didn’t care about ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ My goal was to move those paperclips. In this industry, if you can get people consistently working their business and sharing the message, sooner or later they’ll find others who will join them.”
Committed for Life
Revak is still highly engaged in the industry as a mentor and leader. In his spare time, he flies his small airplane, rides motorcycles and drives race cars. To Revak, age isn’t a good reason to stop doing what he enjoys.
He lives in the Houston area with his supportive wife, Pam. His son, Brandon and wife Michelle, live just 10 houses away. Revak feels fortunate to live so close to his three grandchildren who are the lights of his life.
“I’ve loved this industry for all these years. I’m still in it because I love it—not just for what it has done for me, but for what it continues to do for so many people. It provides the opportunity for people to reach their dreams. People will ask me when I’m going to retire, and I say, ‘From what? I love what I do.’ This industry has changed my whole life. I would do it all over again, 100 percent.”
DSN congratulates Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Rudy Revak. Thank you for over 50 years of excellence, integrity, leadership and vision.
From the June 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.