Due to a medical complication at birth, Bill Porter has had cerebral palsy all his life. On top of this personal impairment, he also happened to have grown up during the heart of the Great Depression in 1932 and his father died when he was young. Despite all this hardship, Bill decided to not draw disability, at behest of experts at the time, and instead decided to try his hand at direct selling. Not just direct selling–direct selling door-to-door.
He received his first opportunity at the Watkins Company in Portland, OR. Despite being placed in a territory thought to be unproductive at the time, Bill went on to become the company’s top salesman and worked for them for over 40 years.
Since then, Bill followed a solid daily work routine that involved his entire Portland community and had become a local icon and inspiration up until his death in 2013. He not only appeared in the 20/20 episode above, but also in Reader’s Digest and several major newspapers as well as gave numerous talks to Fortune 500 companies. His life story was even made into a TNT film called Door to Door in which Porter was portrayed by William H. Macy.
Bill always maintained that he attributed most of his perseverance and work ethic from his mother who challenged him to never give up and to be the best person he was always capable of being.
A special thanks to District Leader Phillip Leigh, for sharing this story.