Y’all, I never thought I’d be a salesperson. I have always been the shy, dreamy-eyed romantic who is feeling big feelings and writing poetry in the corner. I see multiple sides in most arguments. In fact, I spent most of my undergraduate studies learning how to craft essays defending different positions.
I would never take it upon myself to tell someone else I have anything all figured out. Because I don’t. At all.
Then came McAlister’s sweet tea. Have you ever had McAlister’s sweet tea? Let me tell you, it is too sweet to be legal. Seriously. It’s so good. And in my pre-Whole 30 days (and let’s face it, pre-everything days), I couldn’t have cared less. That tea was delicious. It got me through my finals in my senior year of college.
When I interviewed to be a counter girl the summer after I graduated, I had absolutely no service experience. The owner of the new store, which was opening a few weeks later, smiled and bluntly asked me why I was there. “The sweet tea!” I beamed. “And the chocolate chip cookies. And the veggie sandwich. Oh my gosh, I just love this place.”
He loved my enthusiasm, and I got the job on the spot. They put me on the front register when the store opened. I happily blinded all our customers with my smile.
“What do you mean is the tea good? Why have you not tried it? You. Sweet tea. Now.”
I did it because I believed in the tea.
Last spring when my husband was deployed for the first time (to tell you the truth, I felt a little lost), I watched as a Facebook friend posted day after day about a promotion she was working on — she was obviously having fun, laughing freely in her videos, posting Snapchat photos. The joy she expressed was incredibly attractive. Plus, her mascara was on point.
She was selling makeup. And loving it.
Ten days later I had my starter kit, a brand new tube of mascara, and an excitement I hadn’t felt in years. I genuinely loved the products, and I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about them. I jumped on Facebook and began to work the muscles I built a decade ago when I took the lead in guiding a successful healthcare company into the uncharted waters of social media marketing.
It was so fun. I felt myself coming alive.
Yet with every selfie, live video, and personal message, I held my breath: What will people think?
But overriding that fear was the growing confidence within me that this venture was adding a joy and a purpose to my daily life that had been missing for quite some time. Playing with makeup? Posting online? Connecting with other women? It was actually a perfect fit. It didn’t take long to figure out this was something I wanted to do for the long haul.
In truth it has been a little hard to admit to myself and others that I enjoy network marketing. No one wants to be that person. Right? You know what I’m talking about – the pushy salesperson who’s all up in your business because she or he has an opportunity for you that you just can’t pass up!
Believe me, there have been friends who haven’t been interested.
I’ve heard: “I don’t wear makeup.” or “That’s cool, but I can’t. I don’t support multi-level marketing companies.”
No offense taken. I have a long list of personal businesses I haven’t supported over the last 10 years and unread private Facebook messages ignored because I thought my eyes were going to roll out of my head.
I get it. You think it’s a scam. You don’t want things to get weird. I know. I was you once.
But here’s the thing. Running this business has been one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time. I get to set my own hours. I get paid to put on makeup, talk about it, and encourage women to have confidence in themselves.
And the mascara? I love it just about as much as I loved that sweet tea.
I will never tell someone she has to wear makeup, but I will share with her how wearing this mascara has made me feel better about myself than I have in years.
Friends tell me they see a new confidence, a new sparkle, a passion, and a drive that they never knew I had in me. To tell you the truth? I wasn’t sure I had it in me, either.
It’s pretty great to prove yourself wrong about a thing like that.
Also? Working this business like it’s my job (oh, because it is) has given me something of my very own, a reason to get out of bed in the morning aside from the daily responsibilities of motherhood, which, let’s be honest, can get a little old in the toddler years. (I have two toddlers right now. Please tell me it gets better).
I’m stepping into new parts of my identity — business owner, leader, and speaker — a calling I’ll be able to pursue no matter where the Army may send us or whether my husband is home.
The job also has taught me a thing or two about overcoming some pretty crazy fears: fear of what people will think; fear of failure; fear that if I commit to this, I won’t be taken seriously as a writer (in fact, the dedication I learned working this business got me to finally buckle down and submit an essay to a blog on my bucket list).
I’m learning how to dance with fear and not allow it to keep me from going after big dreams.
Network marketing isn’t for everyone. And that’s OK. But do me a favor – the next time a friend of yours announces she’s going to start selling lip gloss or Tupperware or lash serum, give her a break. Don’t assume the worst. Ask her questions and let her tell you from her heart what the opportunity has done for her. Her feelings will not be hurt if you tell her all you can offer is your moral support and encouragement. In fact, she’ll love you for it.
And if you’re ever driving along a southern highway and see a sign for a McAlister’s, do yourself a favor and pull over. You won’t regret it.