Tag Archives: network marketing business

The American (Canadian) Dream?

Been travelling and teaching a ton so I’m delinquent on my posting—good thing I always write so I have a couple posts to go up (already written) and more to come.

I just came back from the global training conference for the health and wellness company I am a consultant for (I am building my own business selling their amazing products). It was my first time at their global conference (in sunny Las Vegas) and I learned a ton, had an amazing time but most importantly I noticed a very big difference in the overall vibe/message/people at this conference vs the conferences in my old life working in a traditional corporate setting. What an amazing weekend, what an amazing company, and I’m so sure now that this is where I’m meant to be.

 

The term “The American Dream” (insert Canadian dream for me and other Canuck readers….it’s basically the same thing): What does that mean to you? It might vary a bit from person to person but what I think of is: 9-5 steady/stable job that pays for the house in the ‘burbs, car (maybe 2), 2.5 kids, maybe a dog or cat where you work hard all week, dream of the weekends and your 2 to 3 weeks of year of vacation time.  In those hours from Sunday night to Friday check out time you’re usually running around like a chicken with no head: packing lunches, running for subways, dropping off kids, picking up kids, figuring out what to make for dinner, grocery shopping, trying to squeeze in gym time, usually collapsing in front of the TV or into bed each night trying to figure out how you’ll get through another day/week/month/year.  You’re probably in a half dream state (and not the good kind) most of the time where thinking about the dreams you may have had as a child are long gone from memory. Is this supposed to be ‘the dream’? Is this supposed to be what the years in post secondary school prepared me for? Stressed out, trying to figure out how to pay your next bill? Is this ‘success’? Here is a definition of success from the mighty oracle Google:

 

Success (Noun)

1.The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

2.The attainment of popularity or profit.

 

 

Does this sound the same as the scenario described above or what you’re living? It wasn’t my life that’s for sure. I hadn’t found my purpose, or did I even know what my ‘aim’ was other than to get through another week.

 

Do you know what was so amazing about this past weekend? The folks who are building their own health and wellness businesses alongside me have a very different version of success. Obviously the Mercedes-Benz car program our company generously rewards us with is a goal, and the ability to work from home and still pay the bills are big reasons to do it. Here’s the thing….the theme of this past weekend’s conference? Giving back. Finding a purpose so that when you reach that level of success where you are making more money then you dreamed of or at the very least have money in the bank after all your bills are paid…go back into your community and volunteer or donate time/money to a cause that means something to you.  I hadn’t thought much about this until this past weekend, but I made some decisions as I listened to various inspirational speakers from my company speak: a) I am going to hit the highest level of the company b) I need to set my bar even higher c) once I hit these levels I’m going to focus on giving back. I’m not sure to what cause yet but I’m pretty sure it will have to do with either folks struggling with addiction or something related to inner city kids since both area relate back to my own childhood experience.

 

In the mean time…the American Dream? I was supposedly living that last year, well my version of it. I made quite a bit of money in my corp gig, had a wardrobe to rival that of Carrie Bradshaw’s, just myself bought a cute little house in my dream neighbourhood. I was also completely stressed out, getting sick all the time and losing a bit of myself bit by bit every year in my career that I didn’t love, it was my passion. My life looks very different now: I don’t work 9 to 5, I can’t buy $800 shoes on a whim and paying a mortgage while still building your business/no big salary for the first year is a bit scary. But….yesterday when the sun finally came out after a long winter I went for a quick run on the beach at 2pm. I taught my yoga class in the AM and hung around after chatting with my new students who I’m getting to know more and more each week. Yes there are times I’m met with nay sayers (dream stealers we’ll call them) but I remind myself that the life I’m living is not the status quo. Challenging the status quo can be scary for some people, that’s not my issue to figure out, I let share their thoughts but then remind them it’s my life, not theirs. They are free to their version of a dream: what ever that is. I’m following my passion…I’d say the life I have now IS the Canadian dream and it’s nice to know that the 15, 000 people who spent the weekend at the conference with me not only agree, but will cheer for me all the way. That’s a dream I can believe in.

Exodus: June 2012

So the pieces of my long-term plan came together…the house was purchased, I had moved in, set up as much as I felt was necessary to make it feel like ‘home’ (i.e.: painted, decorated, the furniture I needed in place to live in place etc.), the Arbonne business was up and running with 2 active team members, my yoga teacher had come forward and proposed the idea of me teaching in his new studio in the fall…only one thing left to do: resign from my corporate job. It’s funny, you dream about the moment, quitting, finally ‘getting out’, moving on to this ‘dream’ life where you get to decide what to do/how to live but when the moment finally arrives: it can be a scary one. I already knew what the date would be-June 30, 2012 (as a last day of work). I had committed two years in the role to my vice president and that would be me just over two years. I had even already decided to give a month’s notice because it was a huge project with a go live date for a software implementation in June with new people coming aboard to help with that I figured it would be easier to transition my responsibilities as they were sorting all of that out (A guess that was correct on my part as they didn’t replace me: they farmed out my responsibilities to assorted teams).  The first week of June came way faster than I expected it to and it was time to tell my VP what I planned to do. I had no idea I’d be so nervous/scared to tell her. In fact the guy I was dating at the time had even told me to be prepared for some emotional ups and downs through this as it was like ending a 12-year relationship (Was he ever right!). I almost threw up the night I sent the email requesting time with my VP to tell her in person and my stomach was doing flip-flops when I walked into her office after hours that night to tell her I was resigning. I had known Jane for years and she is a lovely woman, had been very good to me…we both got a bit misty eyed in our conversation but in the end she was very happy for me.  We had got to know each other via a lunch time yoga class we attended with some fellow colleagues so it was only fitting we discussed me leaving the organization to follow a dream of teaching yoga and building a health & wellness business. Little did I know that getting a little misty eyed with my boss was only a taste of what was to come?

That was the first week of June, what would follow in the next few days, weeks, months would lead me to creating this blog. I was in no way prepared and completely surprised by the reaction I would get from people as word started spreading throughout the organization about the girl on the 12th floor who was leaving the company to pursue a career in health & wellness and teach yoga.  I spent the next 4 weeks transitioning my responsibilities, tying off loose ends with the project and going for a lot of coffees, lunches and visits to say good-bye to the many, many folks I had met and become friends with over my 12 years at the company. Many of these conversations were very business like: “nice working with you, all the best etc.” but many of the conversations went very differently then I was expecting them too! I had several folks burst into tears, several get misty eyed, and even a couple heated discussions one of which resulted in a woman storming away from me in the hallway. I recognize these reactions had little to do with me (I’m in no way saying these people were crying because I was leaving), rather we would get to talking about their lives, where they see themselves in a few years and then…that’s when I’d get the reaction.  I am not a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, a social worker, or counselor but I can tell you this: when you get really honest, and start telling people what’s really going on in your head, how you really feel you’d be amazed at how honest folks get with you! I also discovered that most people felt the same way I did…. they didn’t love their jobs per say but weren’t quite sure what they wanted to do with their careers lives etc. Finally I discovered that I was in fact very lucky, I had discovered what I was passionate about and had (bravely I’m told) decided to pursue it. I was a very lucky and grateful lady.

That brings me to the ongoing theme/what I’ll be writing about in this blog going forward. More heated debates/discussions, crying, raw honesty and laughter. General networking, meeting more like-minded folks, building relationships and the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Hopefully I’ll hear from some of you out there, your journey, your ups and downs because if there is one thing I know from all of this: I’m not the only one out there taking this journey and there tons of folks out there who want to/or will in the near future…and I for one will be cheering those folks on just like the folks cheering me on right now.

An Action Plan

So in my last post I spoke about making decisions and about opportunities showing up. This amounts to nothing if you don’t have a plan in place and action said plan (something I was learning day-to-day in my gig in change/project management). I put myself on action plan for my own life. I knew I needed to plan my exodus from corporate life but there were some things I had to consider. At the time I was living in my first piece on the real estate ladder-a condo I had owned for 5 years. I loved my little condo, the community in the building and the maintenance free existence. That said, if I was going to plan a new career as an entrepreneur a lot of my ‘work time’ would be spent at home. Part of the reason I loved my little space is that I was not in it a lot of the time (long hours spent at the office), the thought of living/working in a small (565 sq ft) space with no outdoor space started to get suffocating so I made another decision in addition to changing careers–I decided to buy real estate. Make a decision to leave your lucrative career AND buy a house with a bigger mortgage? Are you crazy? Yeah…not a lot of people thought that call was ‘brave’ rather….crazy, naive, doomed etc. (Insert your comment here) The thing is this…big banks don’t like giving mortgages to people with their own business unless they are already successful or have a whole lot of money in the bank! That was not me. So I put my action plan into place which involved 3 major pieces of the puzzle in the summer of 2011.

1) Arbonne: This is my network marketing business. I’ll be talking about this a lot on this blog because there are lots of misconceptions about networking marketing (is that a pyramid scheme?) and most people in my city/network have never heard of Arbonne. Arbonnie? What’s that? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again (many times) Arbonne is a Swiss, vegan certified health and wellness company. They’ve been around for over 30 years, and some impressive folks at the helm (see past posts or google them). My old friend who I annually surf with down south is a driven, focused, successful corporate communications background businesswoman. When she told me she had started her own business on the side and told me about the company I decided in August of 2011 to start my own health and wellness business under her (and our up line’s) guidance. Expect to hear lots about my Arbonne journey in this blog. The highs and lows of building your own network marketing business and all the things I’ve learned about myself since I joined. One thing I’ll say about them for now: I needed Arbonne to get me on track for my own personal development and I will always be grateful to Ellen (my sponsor) and the Arbonne community I’m now a part of for that. They are a class act, and I’m loving that I’m a part of this organization. I launched and ran my business on the side while still working full-time at my old corporate gig for almost a year….a very low risk way to venture into entrepreneur land….something I highly recommend if you’re thinking about it. There will be lots more on this theme in this blog too. (clearly I have a lot to say) Having this business up and running for 9 months before my departure from my corp job gave me a sense of where the business could take me and help me project whether or not I could make a living doing this full-time.

2) ‘Get my house in order’: Cuz when you’re planning to walk away from a big salary why wouldn’t you? 😉 I hired a real estate agent in the summer of 2011 and the long search for a new home for me would begin. I had a limited budget and was stubbornly committed to keeping my search area to my beloved neighborhood. (A rather expensive neighbourhood and I’m the sole income earner in my household of one) This would prove to be a long search….to the tune of 6 months. It was a slow time in real estate but I had a patient agent who very quickly assessed what I was looking for (thank you Emily) and only brought me to see houses that I would seriously consider. As a woman with a busy career AND  side business now I didn’t have time to screw around looking at 50 houses a week. I actually bid on 2 houses and lost throughout the process. Have you ever lost a bid? It’s heart breaking! I was lucky to have a friend who came with me to many of the houses, inspect them and talk me through the decision-making process as well as talk me off the cliff when I lost bids (Thank you Graham). I have an old friend who also happens to be my mortgage broker help me through the process of figuring out what I could afford/what I could live with etc….he suffered many long conversations with me about ‘okay, how much more can I get? Is that reasonable?’ (Richard, extra thanks as you probably half that fall on the phone with me..xo) They say when you meet the right person you just know…I’ve heard the same about a house. I saw the open house listing for a cute little semi with 2 decks off the back, a garden, just over 1000 sq ft (so bigger then where I was but manageable for just me) move in ready and in my beloved neighbourhood. My agent and friend who been accompanying me on my house visits couldn’t join me that rainy November day when I went to the open house. The house was awash in earth tones (I’m not an earth tone kind of girl) and it wasn’t set up the way I would but I knew from the minute I walked in I was home. I was in the house less than 10 min, I could telling the selling agent was trying to keep me at the front door to ‘sell’ me more on the house….I left and called my agent the next day: I told her to bid. We bid 2 days later (the first day they accepted bids) and we won. I was at dinner with my mortgage broker and his partner when I was waiting for the call and I wasn’t that nervous because I knew in my gut it was my house to have. I moved into the house 3 months later….after having the entire house painted white (good-bye earth tones) to further bring out my old beat up dark hard wood floors, and spending most of Dec/Jan planning & shopping for the extra pieces I would need to furnish the new place. I worked like a mad woman but by the end of Feb it looked like I had lived there for a year already. I was home.

3) Now that the business was up and running and the house was on the books I called my old friend and told him it was time to do business with his new mobile marketing company. As it turned out the project he had in mind for me had the same timing as my preferred date for leaving my corporate role behind. The wheels were in motion.

Now came the part that gave me palpitations: putting a date in the calendar and working towards that. The friends and family who knew what I was planning were supportive but I know behind the scenes were worried or thought I was nuts. One conversation in particular stands out. My Mum was very worried about this decision now that I’d declared it, I’m her baby (I’m the youngest) now matter how old I am. She did (as she should) say to me “Do you think quitting is a good idea dear? You just bought a house and that’s a big mortgage”. I tried to put her mind at ease but she worries…she’s my mum and I love her for that. My Dad called me one night and also tried to talk me out of it (I’m guessing Mum put him up to it, although I know he was worried too..I am a Daddy’s girl after all, always was). I had a particularly depressing week at work and was beyond fed up so I responded in the most honest way I knew how…I said: “Dad, this job is sucking the life out of me bit by bit every day. I can’t live like this anymore”.  My Dad’s response? In his thick Glaswegian accent he said: “Well hen, you have to dae it then.” The subject was never brought up again. That’s my parents, I’m a lucky lady.

What’s next? A leap of faith and date on the calendar……gulp.