Career is not something I often write about but these stories have been on my heart to share in a series of posts. I believe them to be important chapters, and lessons, of what's to come and what I'm working towards in the evolution of my writing and work.
Sometimes it's hard to go back to the moments that feel so far gone. Yet I've always found writing those stories to be helpful in many ways from remembering what went down, to moving on, or to declaring new intentions.
That's why today I'm sharing my adventures in Network Marketing (or direct sales.) You'll likely have an intrigued "OoOoO" or a eye roll "ugh" towards this topic... and *spoiler alert* I don't believe my days in Network Marketing to be over... but I have certainly learned a whole lot along the way!
My first experience with direct sales goes WAY back to when I was 20 and Stella & Dot was brand new. At the time, I was a Business Administration college student with big (not-sure-what) entrepreneurial dreams. After splurging on Christmas gifts at a trade show I spent months considering the Stylist opportunity and eventually signed up. Long story short this business was not for me. I loved the style, I loved the idea of growing a biz, I could daydream the heck out of my future success but I simply didn't know myself well enough to actually work for it. I didn't have the awareness or confidence to take (effective) action. Part of me kind of regretted it when I'd look back, now I can more clearly see why it just wasn't the right time, place or product.
Flash forward six years, I was a mama of two, I had "tried" going back to work (read Part 1) and right when I had finally began to explore my 'dream career' option of opening a home daycare, I stumbled upon a new opportunity. Me being me, likes to see things as signs... (Even I want to roll my eyes now.) The way in which I found Keep Collective was sort of random in that I wasn't seeking a business opportunity. I discovered this was Stella & Dot's new baby sister company and it was launching in Canada. I immediately fell for the mission and vision behind the brand to "live happy" and "keep close what matters most." I felt more connected to this line and appreciated the brand's past success and innovation. For those that don't know, KEEP is a personalized charm and engravable based accessory line. I honestly gave this less thought than I had with Stella and jumped in to be a founding Canadian designer.
Like many learning experiences in life, I have come to realize my intentions were "good" but not totally clear. I still daydreamed the heck out of my future success but was almost more ego driven this time. Thinking oh 'this is new', I'm in on 'the ground floor'... Seeking that quick success... Sort of. I did actually work harder this time... but looking back I see that there was hustle, and even though there was heart, there was a lot missing. It didn't flow and it felt forced. The missing pieces led to other things not lining up. I loved the stories and community behind the brand but was finding many clients didn't connect with that and instead were just shopping. Of course, sales are what you want in business. Yet I wanted my sales to feel better. A huge realization for me was recognizing it was actually the community and the lifestyle I was seeking, not the product and the sales!
Don't get me wrong, I still love my keepers and wear them to this day. I love what the company stands for and the success it's brought so many women. Yet, again I knew it was not for me. I realized I dove in to KEEP partly for fear of diving in to what truly mattered and what I truly wanted my career to be. I began to recognize I didn't need hundreds of charms and excess 'stuff' to live happy. I didn't want to promote a product that others didn't *really* need even though I liked it. I wanted to promote happiness and I realized I could do that simply by deciding "what matters most."
So, I will always credit KEEP for asking me that question and to leading me down the path of tuning inwards and taking chances.
As I battled back and forth internally about sharing my Keep Collective business more intentionally, I began to work on opening my daycare. This was a dragged out process as I worked with an agency to plan, prepare and eventually gain approval to begin advertising.
Meanwhile, I came across yet another brand I loved the product and more so loved the mission behind. It was Peekaboo Beans, a high quality, ethically made children's clothing line that promoted play. Play! I love play. After splurging on the clothes for the girls earlier that year, I became curious about the opportunity. (I'm always falling for these direct sales pitches. It's the dreamer in me.)
I'll try to keep this story shorter and say that eventually I did sign up as a distributor. Coincidentally the same month as my dayhome gained approval.
Why was I still seeking this kind of opportunity? I'll tell you: distraction.
Pure distraction, out of fear, from the work that really mattered.
I thought it was "better than" KEEP because it felt more aligned with my lifestyle and seemed to be a "more needed" product.
I love the quality of the clothes... but if I'm being totally honest it is for sure the most money I've ever spent on my kids clothes. In fact, I rarely ever shop for them. They have gotten so many gifts and hand-me-downs and if I do happen to buy them something, it is almost always on sale! And even then I'm stingy because hey, most kids clothes are cheap and sales happen ALL the time!
And this I see as a major factor in why I sold zip. Zero. Nada. ever for Beans.
The universe hit me with a big ol' obvious NO on this one!
Cause really, if I normally wouldn't buy this (because of cost) for myself, how could I promote to others to do so?
That's just one of those "missing pieces" again. Not to mention, play... of course that's a mission I support as an Early Child Care Educator and mama! But 'play', just like 'living happy', is not something I needed a product to promote. And that became crystal clear!
So, I put all aside and focused on what truly mattered. The sustainable job that put my family first and made my "dream career" a reality. I'll be diving more in to my adventures as a dayhome owner and operator in Part 3. Stay tuned! ;)