Little more than a decade ago, Mark Pentecost was a small-town high school teacher and basketball coach aching for a way to get out of debt and have more time to spend with his wife and children. Little did he know that, within a decade, his startup venture would become a half-billion-dollar enterprise and give hope to thousands of independent distributors on their way to experience life debt-free.
“People have forgotten how to dream,” says Mark Pentecost when asked about his company, It Works! Global, and its rise from a part-time side job to a company that pays commissions to more than 50,000 distributors specializing in instant-results products ranging from botanically based skincare to body contouring to nutritional supplements. Sound familiar? In a time when the average American household maintains more than $15,000 in credit card debt alone, more than 10 percent of mortgages are in default and total U.S. consumer debt is at an alarming $11.4 trillion, that quintessential American dream is proving elusive to millions.
Such was once the case for the Pentecosts. They needed a way to have an extra $500 per month for groceries, vacation and savings. After a direct sales side job in the late 1990s, Mark realized he had a knack for it and began seeking a product with which he could launch his own direct-sales company. In 2001, he heard news of a product that could deliver skin tightening, toning and firming results, often with just one 45-minute application. After seeing results for himself, Pentecost founded It Works! Global with the It Works! Wrap as its flagship product.
By 2010, the company hit $27 million in sales and expanded into Australia, Canada and select areas of Europe. In 2011, sales nearly doubled to $46 million and Pentecost relocated from snowy Grand Rapids, Mich. to sunny Bradenton, Fla., bringing his entire executive team with him.. The next year, sales grew to $200 million, and the company is on track to hit half a billion this year.
Within the community, the company teamed up with the Manatee County Sheriff to build a basketball court for the Police Athletic League, which provides a safe place where athletics and academic reinforcement instill pride, responsibility, self-confidence, teamwork and respect.
Today, Pentecost is finishing construction on a 50,000-square-foot headquarters overlooking a marina on Florida’s gulf coast. Stairs are lined with slides so staff can have a little fun between meetings. Pentecost also owns a nearby golf course, where he holds team events, and a 340-acre cattle ranch, which is his retreat to clear his mind as well as host business entertainment and recognition events. But the real fun comes in the form of five-figure bonuses doled out to independent distributors who meet certain sales goals.
In a classic pay-it-forward move, Pentecost developed the GOOD (Get Out Of Debt) Bonus in 2012, awarding $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 bonuses to qualifying independent distributors who earned a promotional rank, coining the phrase, “Debt-free is the new sexy.” Independent distributors are encouraged to use these bonuses to pay off credit cards, college loans, mortgages and other debts. Thus far in 2013, more than 1,000 independent distributors qualify for the GOOD Bonus and since its inception, distributors have earned more than $23 million in GOOD bonuses.
“Debt is such bondage. It’s a very emotional thing for our independent distributors to get out of debt,” says Pentecost, who has plans to expand It Works! Global’s reach into 11 more countries within the next five years. “I don’t know where it’s all going to go, but we’re going to keep on growing and expanding as long as we’re having fun and inspiring people in a positive way.”