Five and a half years ago I was in the market for a new mascara. I had no idea it was the gateway to the life I live now. I had ZERO knowledge about direct sales, never heard the term "network marketing" or "pyramid scheme". I was literally in the market for a new mascara. That's it. I'm often asked what it is like to be a top leader and top income earner in a Direct Sales or Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company. I'm also accused of running a pyramid scheme quite often. So I figured we can put it all out there. The good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly. I've always been an open book and happy to put my heart of my sleeve, this is a topic I share often, but not in totality. Like I've been talking about on my live videos lately, I've been working on my practice of gratitude in 2020. Part of that practice is honesty. It's the only way I know how to operate so this blog will be no different than any other.
Ok, story time...
I used the same mascara for what seemed like FOREVER. Maybelline Lash Stylist. If you know you know. It had the best brush ever, it was like a tiny comb and perfectly separated my lashes. I had used it for so long that I never even thought that it would ever retire. I mean, if it was my favorite, it had to be EVERYONE's favorite right? Wrong. I remember going to Target to get a refill and only finding waterproof. I remember going to another Target and only finding brown. When I finally utilized Google I was stunned to see it was no longer being produced. You see, then, all I wore was mascara and eye shadow! I didn't do the full face routine and no one had taught me the importance of a good brow. Needless to say, that started my research for a replacement. I tried ALL of them. Drug store finds, MAC, Better Than Sex (still feel weird saying that, who picks that name?) etc. Nothing was comparable. Until one night that all changed.
Sean and I had dinner plans with our friends and we decided to pick them up so we could all take one car. I remember the back door opening and looking back to see my friend Kelly getting in the car and I swear the terrible overhead lighting of the dome light was like a ray of sun from the heavens that landed on her lashes! Ok, maybe I'm being a tad dramatic but her lashes were what mine USED to be! I needed to know what she was using. And when I asked her, she simply said... "Oh my friend is selling it, I'll give you her info!" That was it. The statement that altered the course of my life.
That night, I went home and posted on Facebook. "Ok, who is selling that mascara everyone is talking about?" I got about a dozen tags and comments and decided to go with the person that Berit's sister recommended. I wasn't an online shopper at the time (crazy, I know) so it took some time for me to even get the mascara purchased. But quickly after that I hosted an online party, earned a bunch of free makeup because of the purchases made on that party and quickly jumped in to spend $99 and join her team. In my mind, I was just going to be someone that my friends ordered from and I would stock up my free makeup. Little did I know, the universe had MUCH different plans for me.
My first month in the business I had some great success! I "promoted" 4 times. I honestly had NO IDEA what that meant. All I knew was I was having fun. I was pregnant with my first son, Declan, at the time and struggling. I was losing who I was as a female and trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was going to be responsible for a tiny human in just 3 more short months. I was a nanny to my 3 nieces and nephew, and ran a busy small photography business. I had a lot on my plate and even more on my mind. I quickly realized that I was making friends virtually. They were women that were JUST like me. They understood. And they offered a reprieve from my lack of adult interaction. After about 2 months of this type of excitement, it quickly died off as I prepared for the birth of my baby.
Over the next 3 months I was home on an unpaid maternity leave. My husband and I were still financially trying to recoup from the purchase of our new home and doing that on a single income. I was experiencing what I now know to be postpartum anxiety, an abnormal over production of milk and just learning what being a mom was like. I didn't realize it then, but looking back, it was the women I had met in this business that were consistently there. Checking in, keeping me sane. I'll always be so grateful for that. I had always kept my circle tight, I'm talking 6 people tight. This was new territory for me.
After a series of life events, Sean and I decided it was time for me to stop being a nanny and find a way to replace my income so that I could stay home. I realized that Younique was that opportunity for me. I told Sean to give me 90 days to replace my income as a nanny and if that happened, I would make the switch. I went to work and completed that task in only 30 days. To make sure that it wasn't a fluke, I stuck to the 90 day plan. I was still steadily replacing that income so I decided to make the very scary decision to go full time. I want you to know, this is NOT a typical scenario in MLM. And I wish that more people would share what it ACTUALLY takes to have the success that I have had. So I'm going to be the one to tell you.
See, here's the thing, everyone loves a rags to riches story. No one pays attention to the grit, equity, tenacity, consistency and FAILURES in between that got them there. And as much as I would love it, I don't have the ESPN 30 in 30 production team to show it to you. I dove into my company HEAD first. I was open to coaching. Open to realizing I mentally had a LONG way to go before I could allow success and abundance into my life. I had to put my head down and work hard, show up every day and ACCEPT my failures as learning moments, not as excuses as to why it wasn't working. And I knew one thing from the very beginning, if you aren't authentic and willing to be vulnerable, people will see right through it.
Unlike others, from the moment that I decided to go full time into MLM, I never had a month where I didn't grow. I knew that I didn't have a choice though. My family now depended on this income. But I also realized that the earning was unlimited if I just stuck to the program. Now let's get into the part where the haters come in, shall we?
With success comes two kinds of reactions. Inspiration and envy. I've been the brunt of both sides. I think the first piece of a negative experience in MLM came in about 2 years in. I had a video go viral and with that video came a MASSIVE boost in my business. I'm talking major. I went from being some one a few people knew and looked up to, to someone 3 MILLION people knew about. It was insane, but I was here for it. I knew that what was happening was a major opportunity for me. It was opening up my platform in a way I had only ever dreamed about. Not because I was making more money, but because I was being flooded with connections. ENDLESS conversations with 1,000's of women all over the world. My mission has been to help women be unapologetically confident and help them step into their greatness. Now I was able to do that for so many more. I took this opportunity and rode the wave of it for two full years. It wasn't a one and done thing. People still come to me and say that they found me from that 2 minute and 38 second video. I've changed the lives of so many and they have completely and irrevocably changed mine. But that is the outside audience. What about what happens behind the scenes of an MLM?
I bet you're looking for the dark dirty details here, aren't you? And I'm sure that there are a few of you reading this wondering if I'm going to mention you. If you know anything about me, you know that's not how I roll. Sure, I've lost connections with people who I thought would be my friends for life. I've heard the rumors of how I'm only successful because I had a viral video. I've watched people, who one day said they were a "lifer" of my company, turn around and bash it into the ground the next. I've watched people become greedy, to a point that they chose to lose friends over being honest or working hard. I've had letters sent to my house telling me I'm a horrible person. I've had months where my paychecks have made me cry, and months where I wonder what am I doing wrong. I've doubted my ability to lead others and if I'm still relevant. I've seen people honestly give this business ALL that they have and fail. I've seen people sit back and do the bare minimum and make a huge paycheck. I've seen it all. But at the end of the day, so haven't you.
It's like this in any part of the world. Pyramid Schemes are illegal. They require you to have a MASSIVE investment to become a part of the company you're choosing and they are promising luxury lifestyles that they cant deliver. It also pays you for recruiting. I don't make a dime off of you joining my team. If I help you become successful, sure, I'm compensated for that. It's up to the person joining and the hard work they are willing to put into growing. I'm sure there were companies that did something like this, but my company just isn't that. In this type of business model you can OUTGROW anyone above you. I've actually out grown 9 people "above" me. And while a handful of them couldn't celebrate that, the rest did. They cheered me on right past them, and they didn't financially gain from that, which is the common misconception. I know that in corporate America it is extremely rare to be able to outgrow someone above you without leaving to another company. But it's not about comparing that. It's about accepting the career that someone else chooses! If you're a highly educated woman that is shooting for that top VP position that is usually only awarded to a man, I'm going to salute you and cheer you on sis. Are you giving up your law degree to be a stay at home mom and nothing else? WOW, you're an actual real life super hero. If you are going to join an MLM because being a stay at home mom isn't enough for you, go on girlfriend! Need a recommendation? I have a million, I've made some amazing friends and will send you their way.
I'm sure that some people were burned by someone in an MLM. Maybe you bought something and they didn't deliver. Maybe you joined and didn't get the support you were expecting. Maybe you joined someone because you spent YEARS following them on social media and they didn't become the close friend you were hoping they would become. I feel you on that. What I don't understand is the people who dedicate the better part of their day seeking to hurt people in this profession. I don't understand the people that spend YEARS in it that turn around and bash it. Or the people that decide to leave the company they are with and choose to try a different one and do nothing but negatively compare one to the other. That's the part that hurts the most, I think. When a friendship just stops because they decided to take a different path. Last time I checked, most people don't spend their entire life working the same job for 50 years. And that's ok. It's MORE than ok.
In the last 5.5 years I can't tell you how many times I've been so entirely grateful to have my business to turn into. Financially, emotionally, and physically. I've gained LIFELONG friends. Real actual friends that I call daily and NOT talk about this business to. I've been able to build a life I only thought I would ever dream about as a kid. I'm able to pave a path for my children that wasn't an option for me growing up. I've gained endless confidence and have been able to shed any doubt that I am worth NOTHING LESS than anything I want in this world. I've been able to connect to women around the globe over SO much more than makeup. I've created a space that is mine. I don't think you know how powerful it is to have something no one can take from you.
But more than anything, I've watched OTHERS lives change. I've seen multiple women gain the courage to leave abusive marriages. I've watched a community of women wrap their arms around each other when someone's house burns down in the middle of the night or when one loses their husband on a cruise ship. I've watched the smallest of victories like making a new friend. I've experienced the power of prayer and positivity when my family needed it the most. I've been grateful for sleepless nights struggling as a mother and there always being someone to reach out to at any hour. I have literally seen magic happen, people heal, and gay men find their home. If that is a pyramid scheme, sign me up.
I know that the community I have built are going to shower this blog with love and positivity. And for that, I thank you in advance. But I'm also certain we will see the comments of those that disagree. And that's ok too. I only ask that when you watch videos about "Why I hate MLM's" and read the passive aggressive comments that you also research the term narcissism. I understand whole heartedly that I set myself up for the negative reactions when I post things like this, and I'm ok with that. I can handle it, I have thick skin. And if I'm being honest, I get it. Not everyone has had an overwhelmingly positive experience with direct sales. But I have, not all of it, but WAY more good than bad.
Am I a lifer? I can't answer that. I do know that I have found a home within Younique and I cannot imagine ever rebuilding what I have built here anywhere else. I believe that if my day ever came where I left this company it wouldn't be to join another MLM. It would be because the universe has bigger plans for me to touch more lives in a different way. When that is, who knows. Because right now, Younique is the reason WHY I have been able to build what I have. I couldn't possibly be more grateful for that. Well, that and my friend Kelly who had some bomb lashes one night!
Love and Light,
*photo from Pinterest