1. Are all multi-level marketing companies bad?
When people hear about multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, they often think of notorious pyramid schemes. However, I actually learned a lot while working for a MLM company; when you locate and begin working for a company that aligns with what you love doing, you can find success and happiness much more easily than investing in a company that you ultimately aren’t passionate about. Sometimes a MLM company can also be used as a step toward another opportunity.
For example, my friend Jennifer Hemphill is a natural networker. She began as an entrepreneur by selling greeting cards on SendOutCards. Because I used this company and her products in particular to stay in touch with clients, we developed a professional relationship. This initial connection allowed me to know, like, and trust her enough to refer other spouses to Jennifer’s company at jenhemphill.com where she helps spouses achieve financial freedom. This business clearly aligns with her values, skills, and interests, and this opportunity may not have arisen if she had not just gotten into action.
I have another friend, Lisa Cooperman (Lisa Hope Cooperman on Facebook), who balances motherhood with working for a company called Wildtree that makes healthy freezer meals for busy parents. The reason for Lisa’s success, in my opinion, is her background; as a registered dietician, teaching parents how to make fast and healthy freezer meals aligns with her deeper “work.” Think about the work you love and then look for opportunities that align with those beliefs. If you follow your happiness, then success becomes inevitable.
2. Can you really get paid to do what you love?
While being a military spouse has its challenges, the complications related to military spouse life don’t mean that any of us should settle for being underpaid for good work. I once had a military organization ask me to speak pro bono. Recognizing my own worth, I told them, “I’m so sorry but I charge a speaking fee. My speech relates to military spouses not accepting underpayment, so I need my actions to match my words.” All of the sudden, the organization “found money” in the spouse budget.
While I was initially hesitant to ask for the same fees as life and career coaches working in the civilian world, I now appreciate the fact that my clients are paying me for my years of expertise and value as a private coach. I also learned that, by charging higher fees for my services, I am actually able to serve the community more efficiently. I often see talented spouses hesitating to charge enough for their services and remaining underpaid.
Sometimes, raising your rates actually helps attract more clients and creates a win-win scenario.
3. Do deployments and relocations ruin our chances for success?
Military spouses often feel that as soon as they get a business idea, make some connections, and get licensed, they are derailed by a deployment or move. At this point, giving up often seems much easier than persevering. Just remember that all entrepreneurs face these kinds of ebbs and flows. If you shift toward focusing on the positive aspects related to each move, you will attract success.
Vikki Lynch and Nancy, now of Fancy Nancy Photography, were both commenting on how much they enjoyed photography when Nancy began to wonder if there were any secrets to handling multiple moves. Trying not to sound too much like Pollyanna, I told her of my belief that she could actually capitalize on being a military spouse photographer who truly knows how to capture memories and why they are so significant.
She can tap into new baby markets in each new town and become a hot commodity if she isn’t staying in an area for long. She can grow her online presence and spread the word that “Fancy Nancy is coming to town,” teaching local photographers the skills she has learned along the way. If you follow your bliss, success will follow.
4. How do I support other entrepreneurs, podcasters, and bloggers while I am just starting or growing myself?
I love collaborating with other coaches, military spouse mentors, and podcasters because I feel that there is plenty of space for all of us and that we can accomplish more as a community. I tell potential clients to interview at least three coaches and choose whoever they have the most chemistry with, even if it isn’t me! I ask other military spouse podcasters to be on their shows while inviting them and others to be guests on mine. I love being transparent and helping one another because I believe that two (or more) heads are usually better than one.
I also really like walking the talk and doing business with other military spouses. Kristina, a spouse from New Jersey who sells the coolest stuff on her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KrissiesKrafts And it feels good to buy things from other spouses. She will even give you a military spouse discount if you tell you her you heard about her from my blog. I love the idea of supporting other entrepreneurs and military spouses, while helping to contribute to our sense of community and sisterhood.
5. How can I promote my business to members of the military spouse community?
I get this question all the time—there are now so many wonderful military spouses out there becoming entrepreneurs and giving back to our community. In response, I would say that the best way to promote services to military spouses is by providing top notch services and then trusting word of mouth and testimonials, preferably from military spouses who are willing to stay in contact with you.
Reach out to people who have used your services and ask them to help you get the word out. You can save money on marketing by relying on word of mouth and social media and even tap into your military spouse network as a resource. Its great to join professional organizations in your field but don’t forget to join organizations such as the National Military Spouse Network (www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org) and let members know your area of expertise. I wrote an article for this organization and it led directly to paid speaking; you need to let people know what you do. When you network with other spouse entrepreneurs, take an equal interest in what they are up to and built lasting connections. I am always more than willing to help people if I get more of a sense of what they do over time and when they reciprocate by taking an equal interest in my work by signing up for my newsletters and participating in my free tele-classes. By putting in this additional effort, you can create relationships that go far beyond an initial hello.
This experience really inspired me to trust in my broader vision for having my coaching practice create a positive impact on the military spouse community. I now know that this success will not be achieved overnight, and that is totally okay. Despite their current levels of achievement, businesses and people only thrive as a result of hard work and time. Don’t be discouraged by the success of others because it’s never as simple as it seems on the surface. These “lucky spouse success stories” actually spent years working on their dream! Hang in there and please reach out to me if you ever need support!