Friday, February 6, 2009

Why Work From Home?

In a recent thread on the (Christian Work At Home Moms) website, the question was posed about how we each started working at home. I thought my answer there might be of interest to my readers here as well. I sort of "God-stumbled" (seemed rather accidental to me, but obviously God-ordained in hind-sight) into working from home as a consultant/representative of other companies. It's been quite a journey to get where I am today, but I'm happy with where God's led me.

When we were newly-weds we were approached about "network marketing" from a big company and we tried them for about 4 years and spent more money than we ever made, though we attended all their big, expensive quarterly rallies, monthly and weekly meetings at the home of the multi-millionaires a few steps up from us in the business. We even drove our beat-up old car 10 hours to sign up the one and only couple we ever managed to sponsor into the business in our entire 4 years with this company. (Our downline couple were college friends and amazingly still are friends even after that experience we endured together.)

So obviously we became rather disillusioned with network or ML (multi-level) marketing! It's been more than 10 years since we left that company. Then a few years ago a friend was joining a new gift rapping company online that was recruiting new consultants. There was no sign up cost, monthly quota or other fees, and I could get adorable gift rapping supplies at a heafty consultant discount. So I figured "there's nothing to loose" and signed up. It wasn't a bad deal, but I certainly didn't make any money at it. I then jumped from one "free to join" company to another, buying products at a discount and filling my closets with "stuff" but still not turning any real profit.

I found one company I really thought I could run with, but just after I sunk quite a bit into inventory, the company changed hands and product lines and rules and I was stuck will several large boxes full of build-your-own stuffed animal kits and clothing. I wasn't interested in the structure of the other company we merged with nor the monthly quotas, and they weren't retaining our product line any, so I left. I've spent the last few years with ready-made gifts for birthday parties and have finally almost used up all that old stock!

I followed the original owner of that company to her new free-to-join makeup business, recruited over 80 consultants within my first few weeks, was quickly promoted to a management position and poured my heart, time and resources into that as well. All of this only to find the hard way that the owner wasn't good at always standing behind her word, that her product line lacked consistant quality, and that all I had invested in there wasn't worth sinking my own reputation by staying tied to hers. It was a hard lesson.

So about the time I figured homebased business maybe just wasn't for me, I discovered Tara and Affordable Mineral Makeup™ (AMM). Even though I didn't like some of what I had witnessed with that other company, I was hesitant to make a full break from them at first because I didn't want to jump from one mistake right into another. But Tara was very patient with me those first few months as I really put her, her products and her word to the test. She eventually asked me to make a choice between the two companies, and though the other one had been "free to join" and had no monthly quotas, while there was a small enrollment fee and a reasonable monthly minimum to stay active with AMM, the difference in integrity between the two companies was night and day. I realized that it was an easy choice to make! (In the end, that other company ended up going out of business and many consultants were left with overstock and frustration just as I had been with the stuffed animals.)

What I learned from all the previous things I had tried is that I needed a business that was going to:
1) Be something I was going to use on a day-to-day basis anyway and would probably spend the full retail price to purchase even if I didn't receive my consultant discount.
2) The product line had to be one of consistantly high quality that I fully believe it so that I could have confidence to share with others.
3) The leadership of any organization I represenedt had to be one of integrity. Business had to be run as a business rather than as someone's hobby that happened to benefit off all my efforts.
4) And ultimately I learned that really, "you get what you pay for" and that "free to join" rarely is going to provide the same business opportunity, training or support that is found is a business that calls me to invest a reasonable amount and reach realistic sales goals on an ongoing basis.

I've spent nearly a year and a half with AMM now, and am still feeling thankful for God's leading in this decision. Besides that first company that we financially invested into so deeply and tenaciously tried to make work for 4 years by buying products we really didn't need at prices that were overly-inflated to make their system stay afloat, not one of the free-to-join businesses I tried every was worth my while to stick with for even a full year. With AMM I feel I have found a home and anticipate being a representative with this company for a very long time to come.

Using the same criteria about product usability, quality, price, and company stability/reputation that AMM taught me, I spent nearly a year as a retail customer with Gurrlie Girl Christian Jewelry before finally deciding to become a Fashion Consultant for them as well. I've only been with them since last fall and had major surgery shortly after joining them, so it's just been within the last month or so that I've had a chance to really get to work with this company. But it too is already turning into a great blessing for me with a rapidly growing team, products I love to wear and share with others, and a great leaderhips foundation.

Both companies are built by women who care about their customers and offering fast, quality service. (It isn't unusual for me to have my orders within 2-3 days from either company, even living far from either headquarters.) The Bible talks about the importance of a good name and that our reputations matter, and I'm happy to align myself with companies who understand that it's not just their name on the line, but my personal reputation as well! These two companies' product lines work well together as I blog about our beauty in Christ on my InnerBeautyGirlz blog. And that's why I'm a WAHM (work at home mom) today. :)

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