This is where the story begins.
"Entrepreneurs do what others won't for a few years of their lives so they can live like others can't for the rest of their lives."
Hi, I'm Deena, and I'm so glad you are here. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, dreamer, doer, Christian, and believer in all things possible. I invite you to get to know me, my story, and my family a little bit more. Even though I may not know you yet, I believe in you - your greatness and the fire in your heart. It is an honor to have you here. Welcome!
“If you keep doing what you are doing... where will you be in five years (especially financially)?”
The question posed to me was not a new one; it was the same one I raised frequently in our home. My husband and I were both self-employed; we were careful with money, we’d been debt free for years, we lived within our means, but we were clearly never going to be able to retire – never. If the day came when we could no longer perform our work, our clients would no longer write checks – simple concept, right?
One of us needed to do something different, but what?
We both worked all the time as it was.
We had done all we were expected to do – earned college degrees, found jobs, and traded our time for a set amount while we built the wealth of others. When children came, we saw the same two options all young moms see: Door #1: I would stay home and raise them, and we would lose my income, or Door #2: I could keep working and pay much of my salary to someone else to raise them. I chose Door #1 and would not trade those years with our daughters for any amount of money, but I had no idea there was another option that would have been the best of both worlds. Actually it would have far surpassed the best of both. Hold that thought, and fast forward to where I was in life when I heard of this Door #3.
I had been self-employed since 2000. It was a wise business decision, because I was no longer trading time for money; I was working for me – for our family! I worked long hours, but I came to value the benefits of self-employment: I did not have to ask for permission to leave my desk and go watch my daughters’ activities; I was home when they left for school and when they walked back in the door every day; as long as the work was done, I could work from anywhere. My husband had already been self-employed for years, and now as I developed a growing appreciation of the benefits of being my own boss, I realized I could never go back to being an employee and letting another decide when I could and could not be away from the office and how much my time was worth.
But there were two huge downsides to my business: the first was that there were no people! I worked alone 100% of the time. I knew down to my core that I was meant for more. I wanted meaningful work that would make a significant difference in the lives of others. The second was that neither my business nor my husband’s CPA firm generated a residual income, resulting in my asking “that question” more often as the years went on.
And then “that question” came again, but not from me this time.
It was asked of me ten years ago at the end of a conversation I’d reluctantly agreed to have with an Arbonne consultant about the business opportunity. I had tried one little sample pack of Arbonne’s RE9 (anti-aging) skincare and had been so amazed at how my skin felt in one day that I’d ordered the RE9 set. I “knew” I would not see a visible difference because I’d tried every anti-aging potion on the market with no results at all, but at least my skin would feel hydrated, which was already huge for me. After 4 weeks of using the RE9 products, I was stunned to see a visible change – even more amazed when others began to comment and ask what I was using. I offered to get sample packs for them from my consultant, whom I’d never met. She lived in Nebraska and was the sister of a close friend who had recommended the products to me.
The consultant was happy to mail them but thought I should hear about how I could build a business since I was already doing two of the three things a consultant does: using the products and recommending them! The only one I was not doing yet was to teach others to do the same. I was not at all interested in hearing a single word about it: oh no, was Arbonne one of “these things?!?!?” I knew I would never do one of these things. I thought I knew all about them when in reality, I knew nothing; in fact, the little I thought I did know was not even true or based on a single fact. But regardless, I had no time for anything else; I was already self-employed and on a short leash there. And if this was sales or meant doing a “home party” then no, thank you, but I will be your loyal client for life because these products are unlike anything I have ever used).
After at least three more polite requests for me to just listen, I agreed, not because of any growing curiosity about this as a business, but so we could both get this conversation behind us, and I could say no and continue ordering my products and referring friends to her and live happily ever after. Since she couldn’t see me, I lined up things to do while we talked so I wouldn’t completely waste ten whole minutes.
As determined as I was not to listen, I found that I was intrigued about this
company and its commitment to pure, safe ingredients.
I didn’t know that the products were all formulated in Switzerland, where the European Union bans over 1,400 ingredients that are widely used in the US skincare. What I learned about our botanical, vegan-certified, gluten free products did not make me want to start a business, but I gained an understanding of why I was getting such unmistakable results.
I remember being intrigued at learning there were four key factors necessary for success in building a network marketing business (even though I wasn’t going to build one)! And I was impressed that Arbonne had all four:
Of course! It wasn’t more “things” with lifetime guarantees that would never need to be reordered; it was skincare, cosmetics, and nutritional products that were used daily, and reorders/repeat sales from happy clients (like myself!) would create residual income.
The products must be wanted/needed by the largest possible share of the population. Everyone on the planet was already using products like these: facial cleansers, body cleansers, eye creams, day creams, night creams, shave creams, deodorant, toothpaste, shakes, vitamins (and over 300 more)! Those who valued a pure ingredients policy would happily change their everyday products to a brand that was safe. I already had!
Timing and Trends
Health, wellness, the way we look and feel, has never been more important. I knew that baby boomers like me want to look as good as we can and feel as good as we can for as long as we can. And the younger generations were being proactive about their health and reading labels on food AND skincare in their twenties. Also, in regards to timing, we are in the self-employment revolution. Business ownership is the dream. (It was ours as well, but with traditional businesses, our businesses owned us)!
Ability to Leverage Your Time
While I could earn some extra income just sharing the products, if I chose to build a business and invested my time and energy into helping others become successful business owners too, my own business would grow. Wait! Now we were talking about mentoring and building leaders, not product sales. We’re talking about meaningful work here; a Door #3 that I never knew about - - - I could offer this option to others before that first child ever comes. . .I could offer this to those who chose Door #1 and now have only one income . . . I could offer it to those who chose Door #2 and have the income but are wishing for more time with their children. I could empower women to become entrepreneurs and be financially independent. . . to replace and then surpass their full-time income with part-time hours and have choices in life they would never have otherwise…….
I’d been so certain I did not want this.
But the more research I did after that call, the more I saw in this everything I’d been saying I desired. It’s been said that each person is offered a life changing opportunity once/maybe twice in their lifetime. Deep down, I knew this was mine. With careful research, I had to dismiss my faulty “pyramid scheme” prejudice and admit I’d been entirely uneducated on what a pyramid is. It’s interesting that every organization except network marketing is a pyramid, where the owner or those in top management earn the most, and there are caps set at every level. People who work hard to be their best are often “capped out” and cannot move up in that pyramid structure. I saw that Arbonne’s structure is an inverted pyramid. Each person begins as the CEO of their own business, and there is room for everyone at the top. The benefits at the VP levels seemed too good to be true...
so I went looking for the catch, because there is always a catch, right?
And I found it: you work. This business was not supposed to work for me; I was supposed to work for my business.
There are two great pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.
I knew that I could live with the pain of discipline, but not the pain of regret if I were still asking myself “that question” in five years, knowing a way to live life by design rather than by default had been placed before me. “Dreaming” had not been in the vocabulary of my “realist” mindset, but a sleeping giant deep within was awakening and daring to dream again. As I write this in the summer of 2016, it has been ten years since I stepped out of my comfort zone, ignored the “dreamstealers” in my life, and began to build a business that has done far more than simply create time and financial freedom for myself and my husband. It has given me a realistic path of hope to offer to others, because I’ve learned that...
most people do have dreams
and feel there is no way they can make them reality.
Our realistic path is a proven system built around offering others products that change their health and a business that will change their lives. It is truly a life-changing journey on many levels, only one of which is the income. This is a business where the leader goes first, and in order to lead myself and then my team, I’ve had to do more personal development than I would have ever imagined. I am truly a better person today for it.
I am forever grateful to Janice Brown, the consultant in Nebraska, who had never met me and had no idea the impact the gift she offered would have on our “impossible situation” and then on the lives of countless others. I’m grateful she shared this gift with someone who was so closed-minded she didn’t even want to peek inside. Above all, I want to thank God who is truly the Giver of all good and perfect gifts, for entrusting me with this one, believing I would give it right back to Him and use it to serve others. It is my daily privilege and joy to share the hope this business offers with others, knowing that “There are those who live in a dream world and those who live in reality. And then there are those who turn the one into the other.”