I will never forget when I started believing in magic again.
I was in my mid-twenties and struggling with making sense of the avalanche of changing beliefs that had defined the past decade of my life. Through a couple of new friends I got connected with a local pagan community called Reclaiming. I signed up for an Introduction to Witchcraft class taught by one of the wisest and most wholehearted women I have ever met.
During the first class, my skepticism was running high. I mean, magic? That’s not a real thing. I had a Bachelor’s degree in Science for pete’s sake!
But as we started to learn about the meanings of the carefully crafted actions and symbols of ritual, something began to click. These symbolic items and actions were a way of tapping into the power of our minds, our emotions, and our inner world. And maybe, through practice working through these channels, we might see real results in the world. Not an instant fix. Not Harry Potter magic, but the real magic of harnessing the power of our inner world and focussing it in a more intentional way.
My perspective on the world changed that day, and this morning I was reminded that this is a tool I need to bring back into my life in a more active way. So in my shower this morning I put an intention into my body wash, that it would wash away all the negative fear and doubt that has been weighing me down lately. And I charged my moisturizing serum (which I always think of as magical unicorn tears) with bright renewing energy of the truth of my bright spirit.
It can be so simple. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and you don’t need to take a class. It can give our self-care routines added meaning and power. And I can help you find what works for you.
When I first heard about this magical lipstick that some of my friends out west had started selling, I barely new what network marketing was. I had to google the acronym “MLM”, which stands for Multi-Level Marketing. And almost immediately, I had my first encounter with the “anti-MLMers” and MLM hate.
The nexus of MLM hate on the internet is the subReddit r/antiMLM. It is a dark hole that my social researcher side, and my self-critical tormenting side, has fallen into too many times in the past year. I usually emerge a few hours later, angry, shaken, and confused. What gives these strangers the right to judge my life choices as not only wrong, but wholly misguided, uninformed, idiotic, and even evil?
I have been asking this question for the past year and the answer has quietly emerged. Fuelling it all is a deeply buried toxic seed of misogyny. In one breath they berate and ridicule these “Hunbots” or “Huns” as brainwashed manipulative robots, and in the next they bemoan the exploitation of all those poor women who have been tricked and duped by the evil MLMs.
Let’s review the basics of multi-level marketing and its two key elements: direct selling (essentially, individuals become small business owners who sell products made by the company they are with); and “network marketing”. Rather than spend big money on slick advertising campaigns, celebrity endorsement, and complex high level marketing strategy, MLMs outsource (and pay) their distributors or representatives to do their marketing on a ground level. So you are selling a product or service and you are spreading the word about that product, and if someone is interested in doing what you do, you are in charge of on-boarding and training them. In return, you get a percentage of commission from your teams sales.
Contrary to what antiMLMers love to claim, it is not a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal and involve no actual product or service of value, only the promise of value that is based on nothing. Now, I will say that some network marketing companies are better than others (just like some business owners can be real jerks and some corporations are horrific exploiters of their workers and the environment, right?). Of the tens of thousands of direct sales companies operating legally in North America (still none of them actual pyramid schemes), only a couple hundred are members of the Direct Sellers Association, which means they are upholding the highest voluntary standards in the industry. So if you are considering joining an MLM I certainly advocate doing your research and choosing one of the good ones. I will write more on this another time.
Let’s return to the idea of a pyramid. I challenge you to find a single business model out there that, when put to paper, doesn’t look a little pyramid-esque. Have you ever seen an org chart that doesn’t narrow as you move upwards? Two key parameters to look more closely at are who occupies each level and the potential for upward mobility. In network marketing, the answer at every level *including the very high earning ones* is women. In fact, home businesses (many of which are MLMs) are still one of the primary ways in which women in North America break into the 6-figure earners club.
What about the potential for upward mobility? One of the things I read over and over from antiMLMers is “get a minimum wage job you will earn more”. And sure, in the first 6 months of starting a new business, this is likely true. But would you say this to someone who had opened a brick and mortar business? Of course not, because there is an expectation that it will take some time to take off and build. The main difference is that because the level of investment required to start an MLM business is so many orders of magnitude lower, there is a larger percentage who give it a try, and then choose to walk away in the first year or two.
Also included and glossed over in the “high failure rates” of MLM businesses are all of the customers who choose to “join” for the product discounts and loyalty programs but never have any intention of trying to earn income. This isn’t a flaw or an evil twist in the system, it is a basic fact that everyone actually involved in MLMs is well aware of, not the least of which the customers who are joining. It would be like saying that Costco is exploiting its customers because their memberships aren’t paying their mortgages. It is a fundamental and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.
Now look a few years down the road. What are the chances that someone starting today in a minimum wage position at a retail store or fast food chain is going to be at the director level in 3-5 years? Let’s just say, it is not good. But did you know that 95% of those who stick with their network marketing business (and actually choose to treat it like a business rather than a product discount) for that same amount of time become leaders and TOP EARNERS in their companies? In most career paths you are lucky to maybe get one big promotion during that amount of time, never mind jumping from entry level to high level leadership within the company.
But that is exactly what is possible in the MLM model. AND it is possible (and extremely common) to do this WHILE raising children at home, or caring for an adult dependant, or continuing at your full time corporate job, or island hopping as a digital nomad. I see it every day, all around me. Stay at home moms of 4 are retiring their husbands from dead end jobs. Single moms are moving their families out of the crappy basement apartment, paying for piano lessons, and taking their children on vacations for the first time in their lives, all while spending far more time with their kids than they were able to when they were working long hours at that minimum wage job.
Another key criticism of MLMs is the spector of “market saturation” – the idea that since a piece of the business model involves growing the reach of the company, it is inherently flawed since there are limits to how many people will buy the products and you are essentially “recruiting your competition”. I actually love this one. Because you know what? If you have a problem with the fact that MLMs rely on growth to succeed, then you have a problem with capitalism. Simple as that. There is absolutely no difference between a retail clothing company that requires people to continue to buy their clothes in order to succeed and a direct sales company that requires people to keep buying their products to succeed. And the good MLM companies are always expanding into new regions, countries, and product lines. Market saturation is a myth used to distract from the power that the MLM model offers women. I’m certainly not saying that the limits to growth critique of modern Capitalism isn’t valid. But that is another debate entirely, and not one that antiMLMers are engaging in. They want us to believe that there is something unique about the MLM model that makes it worse than any other. There is not.
The direct selling aspect also carries its own stigma that I argue is rooted in a patriarchal approach to commerce. Our society seems to frown upon the idea of buying something you need from someone you know, rather through the impersonal avenues of box stores and online shopping. But why? Certainly, the origins of the marketplace, when it was a physical place where merchants would gather to trade their goods and services with others, bears much more similarity to the direct sales model than the corporate model we have shifted into. The return to a more intimate and connected mode of buying and selling is intertwined with feminine qualities of relationship building, caring, and cooperating. Often, direct sales reps will exchange products directly with each other, bypassing cash altogether.
Contrary to the “recruiting your competitors” myth, the culture within all the network marketing companies I have come in contact with is deeply supportive and cooperative. Time and again I am blown away by the selfless support and training that women who aren’t even in the same organization are willing to provide each other. In a world where women are inundated with pressure to compare and compete with each other, it is immensely refreshing to find communities built around lifting each other up. Because unlike the dog eat dog testosterone-fuelled rat-race of modern capitalism, network marketing offers respite, where these types of altruistic actions are not punished, but rewarded. No wonder so many women flourish here.
There are a lot of factors and misunderstandings that fuel MLM stigma. But what I have come to see clearly is this: what turns the misinformation into hate, what lies hidden under all the mansplaning about profit margins and patronizing feigned concern for the poor gals who are being duped by the big bad MLMs, what fuels trolls as they create not very witty memes to make their hater buddies snigger, is fear of women’s power.
Fear of a business model that allows women to be women, that doesn’t require them to display only their masculine side to succeed, and yet STILL ALLOWS THEM TO SUCCEED. Fear of a business model that allows them to raise their children without daycares and nannies WHILE MAKING MORE MONEY THAN THEIR HUSBANDS. Fear of women who are gaining financial freedom and what they might do with it once they have it. Fear of women becoming empowered, plain and simple. Because I’ve seen what this kind of financial empowerment, confidence rooted in authenticity, and female-positive sisterhood does for women and let me tell you, MLMs are Just. The. Beginning.
That is why on this International Day of Women I think there is no better way to celebrate, than to shout praise in the face of MLM stigma. Is there a woman in your life who has her own direct selling business? Send her a message today telling her how awesome she is doing, and how brave you think she is for taking the leap into entrepreneurship and pushing herself to dream bigger than she grew up believing was possible. Tell her you appreciate the all the ways that she is making the world a better place. Because she is.
My 19 month old was in Alberta with his dad visiting family for 4 days and 3 nights (one whole night more than we had ever been apart!) and the last time he went away in October I basically collapsed into a Netflix coma of despair.
But about a week ago it occurred to me, that I can choose a different story this time. So I started planning. I booked myself in for a full body scrub (kind of like a very luxurious car wash!) at the spa one day and a pedicure another. I made a movie date and a brunch date and a lunch date (thank you friends for not giving up on me this winter!). And I made a list of all the self-development stuff that I always think I’d like to have time to do but never actually make time to do, and put it in my calendar.
And you know what? It worked. I actually started to feel excited as the weekend approached. And although it was hard and I missed Dax terribly, the appointments and plans with friends got me moving and out of the house enough to start to really enjoy the me time. I had baths and read my book and relaxed with my face mask. I took a luxuriously long time to do my makeup. And by the time he got home yesterday I felt grounded, refreshed, and so full of love and gratitude.
After 2 hours of soaking and steaming and scrubbing, my LipSense didn’t budge!
Couldn’t resist Marie Kondo’ing my kitchen drawers
Tea lattes with dear friends
Getting a jump start on sandal weather!
Prism Gloss to make catching up on bookkeeping a bit more fun.
Things have been awfully quiet around here, haven’t they? Which is funny, since long before makeup, before entrepreneurship, before any career attempts I have ever made, there has always, always been writing.
You know who stops me every time though? Perfectionism. That voice that tells me I shouldn’t say something until I know for sure that it is the right thing to say, the right way to say it. That, every time I have an idea that I would like to share, screams at me that the format of the website is a disaster and you can’t just start publishing your business blog on a half created mess of a platform but you don’t have time to put into figuring that out because you need to be doing income producing activities because you have a family to support now and you took a crazy huge risk as a single mom choosing not to return to a soul-sucking office job after mat leave but instead to work a brand new home-based business with no business background so you could stay home with your baby who you love more than life itself and you’d better not fail him. And then, generally, I collapse into a shame-fuelled Netflix hole.
So today I am deciding to just be here with you. To be real with you, and let you share this journey, wherever it leads. Here are a few key things I do know. I have some pretty deeply rooted limiting beliefs that I am still only getting a handle on unravelling. There are parts of my brain that contribute to my struggle, perhaps more than some, certainly less than others. Those parts have labels like adult ADD, anxiety, and depression. I have an impressive array of unhelpful coping mechanisms that have become mixed up in this process.
There are other things I am learning though. I am stronger than I have ever fully allowed myself to realize. I may be almost 39 which can feel like a ridiculous age to just be figuring so much of this life stuff out – including love, career, money, purpose – basically everything adult-related. But I am also not even 40 yet and have a fabulous amount of potential still left and now is certainly not the time to admit defeat.
So today I’m choosing to dust myself off again and keep going, and I promise, we will go together.
Here’s the thing. We are all so busy. Whether it’s work, kids, relationships, hobbies, service, or some combination of the above, it can be hard to commit to taking time to care for ourselves. But we all know deep down that if our own glass isn’t full, we won’t be able to be able to fully show up for all those other things.
I want to share a few of the things I massively appreciate about SeneGence products.
1. They all compliment each other SO well.
Our proprietary blend of botanicals increases cellular renewal by an independently tested average of 23%. And it is in basically EVERYTHING we make – including our cosmetics! Which means that no matter what your specific skin concerns, time constraints, or budget, we can easily craft a routine tailored to meet your needs.
2. Did you read #1 correctly? Our cosmetics ARE skin care.
Basically our cosmetics help to make themselves redundant. Our foundation increases luminosity by 49% and decreases fine lines and wrinkles by 56%. Our eyeshadow reduces skin sagging by 25% and increases firmness and elasticity by 52%. Our blush increases collagen synthesis by 168%.
Talk about multitasking. Self-care win!
3. A little colour goes a LONG way.
And I don’t just mean how pigmented our products are. Even if you don’t usually wear lipstick or eyeshadow, I challenge you to try adding a little colour to your morning routine for a week. It will take you 5 minutes but I promise you the boost to your mental health every time you catch a glance of yourself in the mirror for the next 12+ hours will be more than worth it.
4. All your purchases are totally stress-free.
If any of the above doesn’t work out like you’d hoped, you can exchange it or just return it to me for a refund. For ANY reason at all! Seriously. That is how much this company stands behind their products, and even with this remarkable guarantee we have been able to remain in business for 20 years…
So your purchase is totally guaranteed and you don’t have to worry about any retail remorse. It is the safest form of retail therapy I know!