learned to work at an early age. His father drove a truck from town
to town in Brazil selling goods and young Carlos would go with him
during school breaks. Far from a vacation, Carlos would go into the
stores, take orders and deliver the goods while his father sat in
the truck listening to the radio.
“My father was awakening in
me a sense of responsibility and a spirit of initiative," Martins
wrote in an email interview with the Deseret News. "Without knowing
it, I was learning how to sell, to negotiate, to offer a product. My
dad calmly waited for the results. He didn't go with me. He trusted
me and didn't interfere. The choices where mine. It was a lesson for
The lessons Martins learned
paid off in future business endeavors. Martins recently sold the
language school franchises he founded, Grupo Multi, for $719.6
according to Forbes.com.
This sale, along with his other investments, has propelled Martins
into the rank of the world’s billionaires.
The journey to becoming a
billionaire, however, is what makes Martins’ story so unique.
When Martins was 12 years
old, his parents became concerned about the declining morals of
“My parents had an emptiness
inside them," Martins wrote. "They felt people were losing track of
the notion of right and wrong, with misplaced principles, values,
ethics and a lack of mutual respect. Imbued with this spirit, they
initiated a search for a religion that would help them raise their
seven small children and keep the family united. It was at that
moment that the missionaries knocked at our door.”
This experience changed
Martins’ life. His family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, and he began learning English from the
missionaries, who also encouraged him to apply to Brigham Young
University when the time came. Given his parents’ income level, this
dream seemed unlikely. But the idea stayed with him.
When he turned 19, Martins
was called to serve a Mormon mission to Portugal. After returning
home, he married his wife, Vania. They left for their honeymoon in a
borrowed car and with the prospects of a minimum-wage job waiting
for him when they returned. It was at this time that the couple made
a decision that they have never regretted.
“We decided to seek
prosperity with the help of God," Martins wrote. "We promised the
Lord that we would be 100 percent faithful in paying a full tithing
and that we would be generous in our payments of church offerings.
As we returned to begin our life as newlyweds, we did not yet know
what to do to climb out of the poverty in which we found ourselves.
… We had no chart, no compass, no road map, no standards or hints.
We only had the desire and confidence that the Lord would bless us
according to our efforts."
One of the first blessings
came when Martins was accepted to BYU. He was 26 years old, with a
wife and twins. He earned his degree and returned home to Brazil. At
30, he became an executive in a multi-national company and planned
on moving up the corporate ladder for the duration of his
Then one of his co-workers
asked if Martins would teach him English.
“I agreed and I started
teaching him classes in my living room at home in the evening after
work," Martins wrote. "After this first student, another came and
then another and another. As time went by, the number of students
Soon, teaching English
brought in more money than his salary at the company he worked for.
Martins quit his job and invested his savings in a language teaching
school he called Wizard. This school became the fastest-growing
English learning school in Brazil.
From one student in his
living room, Martins grew the company to 3,000 schools in 10
countries with 50,000 employees and over 1 million students per
year. Martins later legally changed his middle name to Wizard as a
nod to the company.
Not satisfied with his
success, Martins has also worked to help others succeed.
“Carlos is one of the most
gracious and down-to-earth people you will ever meet," said Mark
Palmer, a donor liaisons for LDS Philanthropies. "Not only does he
give in terms of philanthropy but what is remarkable about his
business is how many other people prosper because they got involved
with him. He’s willing to very quickly embrace people as friends.
It’s not hard to see why people would want to be in business with
Martins helped more than 100
people in Brazil become millionaires through his business
franchising. This experience led him to write a book, “Awaken
the Millionaire Within,”
which he calls his “personal philosophy of success.”
During the years of building
a successful company, Martins served as a bishop, stake president
He also continually seeks to bring people to the gospel.
“He is a remarkable
missionary in his business dealings and everything else he does,"
Palmer said. "He’s just completely unafraid to share the gospel with
anybody at any time. And the way he goes about it is so natural that
it almost goes unnoticed. But there’s nobody that doesn’t know that
Carlos Martins is a faithful member of the church.”
The principles of the gospel
have guided Martins in every aspect of his life, and the lessons
that Martins’ father taught him while they drove around Brazil in a
truck have helped him in his professional career. He continues to
share these two aspects of his success in order to help others
become the best they can be.
“I believe that every
successful person carries within himself a feeling that he is
fulfilling a mission, since any victory loses its meaning if we do
not use it for even greater purposes,” Martins wrote.