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Military Spouses in Direct Sales Part 1 - USAA Member Community.jpg

Military spouses often have to get creative in finding employment opportunities to fit the military lifestyle. With frequent moves, time off needed to accommodate deployment and detachment schedules and an unpredictable life in general- many struggle to find employment that “fits”. I realized recently many of my military spouse peers have joined direct sales (also known as multi-level marketing) companies.

 

What is the very first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words direct sales? I have to admit, at one time, I was weary of these types of income making opportunities and my first thoughts were “pyramid schemes”. I would like to challenge you to rethink the stereotypes and preconceived notions of direct sales jobs. In my opinion, they can be a great career choice for military spouses who are looking for the opportunity to work from home and dictate their work hours and schedule. As with any business venture it is essential you vet and research the company you are considering joining through resources like the Better Business Bureau and by talking to others who have chosen to sell the products or services.

 

This interview is the first of four in a series featuring military spouses in direct sales. These military spouses have found success and fulfillment from their jobs. I hope their stories and advice inspire you like they did me!

 

Amanda Schnepper: Usborne Books & More Amanda lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and 13 month old son. She has a Bachelor's Degree In Exercise and Sports Science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Master's Degree in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University. She is a part time Fitness Instructor, Usborne Books & More Team Leader and a full time mommy. She has been a military spouse since 2009 and has lived in Texas and California with her husband before they moved to Virginia.

 

 

  • How did you get into this line of work?  I had never heard of Usborne (even though the company has been around for over 20 years) until I went to a Facebook party that my cousin hosted. About 15 minutes in, I decided I needed all the books for my son, Jack! Then by the end of the next day, I decided that I would step way out of my comfort zone and sign up as a consultant. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little insecure/embarrassed about my decision but I trusted my gut and decided to go with it!  (and so glad I did!) 

  • What is the most challenging aspect and biggest perk? At first, the most challenging part was time management. I wanted to do it all. I wanted to do Facebook parties, home parties, book drives, book fairs AND work with libraries all at the same time (while taking care of a 10 month old)!  But as any mom knows, there are never enough hours in the day to do what you would like. I have to pick ONE perk?  I think the BEST part is knowing that kids are getting awesome, fun, and educational books in their hands because of me and my fellow consultants! I also love helping the consultants on my team reach their goals and work their business. AND I love helping my husband out with paying the bills.

  • What do you wish people understood about your business? Coming from the girl that said she would never do direct sales (never say never, right?!); please don't judge a person for trying to financially help their family or who is trying to spread the news about a product for which they are in love.  If they are clogging up your news feed, unfollow them! It used to annoy me when people referred to their direct sales job as their "business."  It seemed so gimmicky. But it is YOUR business. You have control of your schedule and you are making a living or helping your family make a living by working your business. With Usborne, there are no sales minimums, so its stress free! 
  • As a military spouse, what is the greatest advantage of working this type of job? If we move (HA, excuse me, WHEN we move) I will be able to pick my business right up and take it with me. The other great thing is that you are always giving your customers personalized customer service which means you create loyal customers! So your customers won't go anywhere even if you do!  
  • Can you share advice for others considering something like this to be successful?  If you are considering a multilevel marketing job, make sure you LOVE the products. If you LOVE what you sell, then it will not seem like work! While direct sales may have a stigma for some, multilevel marketing is becoming more popular. Social media has enabled consultants to reach people that the old "home party" couldn't reach. Shopping (while supporting the everyday man or woman) is going in this direction, like it or not!

 

Coming up next week, we highlight a military spouse who is a direct sales consultant for LuLaRoe.

 

Do you run your own business using direct sales? I would love for you to comment and share your success stories.

 

About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (2 years and 4 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.

 

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