According to the Direct Selling Association 16.5 million people are involved in direct selling, representing every U.S. State. Most of them are women.
Hello dear readers, you should know, this article is longer than usual. Sometimes that happens to deliver the story in its entirety.
Last year, I was invited to my first ever Facebook party. Apprehensive but curious, I attended.
The party was hosted by a LULAROE distributor and young mom of two.
I think my friend said something about their “Amazing leggings” and the fun they have when they virtually gather together.
I showed up thinking no one was really going to attend, or buy anything.
Boy was I wrong! Those women were front and center every Friday night to shop, talk and play games.
I’ve been trailing MLM’s and the women of direct selling ever since.
Their cult following is as fascinating as the many reasons ‘why’ so many women flock to them.
Despite their success—and a society aimed at promoting the entrepreneurial spirt and female empowerment—it surprises me how quick women in traditional business are to criticize and condemn these women.
Some say MLM’s target and attract miserable, bored and unfulfilled housewives.
That’s archaic, condescending and untrue. The women I’ve met are smart, hard-working, driven to succeed and goal-oriented.
I think they’re the new face of home-based business, and often the overlooked women of small business.
With that said, today I introduce you to Jen Stuler.
Jen is a three time mom, wife to her college sweetheart, Justin, and a USC graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Industry.
Rather than start a business from scratch, Jen partnered with Arbonne International, a multilevel marketing (MLM) company known for their vegan skincare, cosmetic and nutrition products.
I thought I was way too fancy to do a business like this. But when I dug deeper I learned how people from all different backgrounds including doctors, lawyer’s and teacher’s are adding on additional income to their household, I became more intrigued.Jen Stuler
April: How did you hear about Arbonne?
Jen Stuler: My husband (Justin) has his own fitness business. He had a client who had a friend in Arbonne who was looking for referrals.
His client thought Justin would be amazing at a business like this. She gave him some samples. He tried them and liked them but thought this business was a better fit for me.
When he told me about it I was intrigued but hesitant. I have three little kids at home and life is very busy.
My plate was already full with volunteering at the kids school, our church and teaching music lessons.
But, I was looking for a way to give our family the resources to have more time together as a family. So we met with his clients friend (Clara) and I signed on.
April: You said you were hesitant and very busy. So tell me about your why. Why did you decide to sign on as an Arbonne partner?
Jen: My initial desire to start this business was the compensation plan! The thought of making $22,000 per month was staggering and life-changing for us.
That was enough to make me take a leap of faith and jump in!
Ultimately, I was looking for a way to take the financial pressure off of my husband.
I wanted to fill vacation funds, college and retirement accounts and pay for the kids sports and activities.
But after signing up I tried the 30 Days to Healthy Living Program. I lost 5 pounds and had more energy than I’ve ever had.
I’ve struggled with my weight in the past. Finding a plan that actually works has been life-changing for me.
That’s when I really got excited about sharing products that worked. I was walking proof!
April: You have an impressive resumé. You’ve performed with Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow and you’ve made appearances at places like The Viper Room and the Kodak Theatre. How awesome is that! With that said, some reading this may wonder why you’re in this business rather than music. What do you say to that?
Jen: Yes. I have. Thank you. I love music. I’ve known since I was 5 music, singing and performing was my calling. But then I met the love of my life and I had the girls. I wanted to raise my children and I want to be there for them and my husband.
April: So like a lot of women you’ve paused your career so you can invest in your personal life and family.
April: Tell me about Arbonne products. What makes them a superior product?
Jen: Our products are botanically based. We have a “Not Allowed” list that includes 2000 ingredients not allowed in Arbonne products.
In contrast, the FDA in the U.S. only bans 12. Also all products are vegan certified, non-gmo, gluten-free, soy-free, whey-free, dairy-free, cruelty-free and certified Kosher.
April: What are the pros and cons of a direct selling business?
Jen: The pro is that you are your own boss! My favorite part is that I create my own schedule and not have a boss I need to answer to.
Also, for $49.00 you get a turnkey ready business that supplies you with shipping products, website maintenance, legal, marketing and research and a mentor that will teach you how to be successful.
And I still get all of the tax write-offs because I’m a home-based business.
The con is that you are your own boss! It requires taking the initiative to grow your own business.
(We do recommended a business purchase of one to two packages. It’s important to become a product of the product).
April: How has starting this type of business made a difference in your life?
Jen: The most immediate result was becoming healthier from the inside out.
For the first time in my life I have a healthy eating plan that is doable and easy to follow.
It’s a simple plan that has given me the resources to kick cravings that I’ve struggled with for years.
I’m healthier and weigh less now in my 30’s–and after having three kids–than I ever have in my adult life. The meal prep is much easier, faster and it comes out to about $9.00 a day.
Even my two-year-old loves her morning shakes!
In the long-term, this business has given us so much hope for our future. And, eventually, when my girls turn 18 I want to give them a business of their own so they will have an additional income stream, no matter what career path they choose.
And, at the level I am currently at, Area Manager, the business is will able. If something were to happen to me my family would still receive my checks up to 6 generations.
April: As you know, there are those skeptics who see this type of business as a “scheme.” What would you say to them?
Jen: That was absolutely my hesitation. But pyramid schemes are unsustainable and most importantly, illegal.
In network marketing we don’t get paid to recruit anyone and we have a product to sell. We receive compensation only when products are sold and we are paid on a weekly basis.
We also receive what are called overrides on the sales of our team. This is in place of advertising.
Arbonne doesn’t do advertising and we also cut out all middle men because of our distribution system.
This is basically a thank you from Arbonne for teaching and training our teams. It’s the best part of network marketing and how someone can literally duplicate themselves.
For example, If someone has a team of 10, including themselves, And everyone works 10 hours, you can get paid 100 hours even though you only worked 10 hours.
I love that!
April: How can you directly help anyone reading this?
Jen: My favorite part of being a consultant is having an excuse to make friends everywhere I go.
I love being able to lean a bit further into people’s lives and see if I might have a solution for them.
Sometimes that can be a desire for safer products, getting healthier and losing weight, building another income stream or replacing an income and creating financial freedom.
The greatest joy in this business is being able to help others!
I absolutely love that I get paid to teach and train others how to do the same. So if someone is interested in products or business opportunities all they have to do is reach out to me!
April: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
Jen: To jump in even if you don’t think you’re ready and then don’t give up. My incredible husband has championed me from day one.
He has given me the perspective that making mistakes is part of the learning process.
This applies to everything from running a business to raising kids.
Thank you, Jen. Maybe you can come back again and share some of your favorite, healthy, recipes.