I get this a lot.
Sometimes it's about me leaving. Sometimes, it's about the company I went to. Often times it's about what people heard about me from leaders and their corporate connections that didn't feel right.
So let's clarify why I was even willing to consider leaving and, ultimately, why I made this decision.
I grew fast in my first business. It was wild; it was fun, I had a massive group of women on my team who worked together, supported one another, and became a true community. I led with my heart and soul, which ultimately became the "name" of our team. Not everyone was running a big business or could run parties, but we loved what we had together, it was more than business, "we did life together." I trained and showed up constantly on our team page. I was appreciated and respected...which sounds great but it was the exact thing that made my decision to leave clear, whether or not others could understand it.
From the beginning of social media (I'm that old) I have understood the potential power of it and known how I would want to show up. Authentic, true, and helpful. We all know that there is a lot of BS in the world of social, I've always followed and been inspired by the good ones, though. I never wanted to be an influencer, or whatever we called it, before that was a term. I have always wanted to be influential, though. It's why I went into teaching, it's why I always took on leadership roles throughout life, and it's why I loved getting to lead a team and, ultimately supporting and encouraging many more. Social media is a love of mine because of how complicated it is. If you hate it, you need to shift what you're doing, who you're following, and what you're taking part in. There's a lot of beauty in it; I wanted to be part of the good, even if I only had 200 friends.
While I was most certainly the "cloth dealer" to many people, it wasn't the identity I wanted. It would never be the only thing I shared or talked about. I figured out ways to make online businesses work and I shared those ways with anyone who wanted them or needed direction. I trained at conferences, online, and privately. Through the power of social media, there is never a lacking, someone else's success means more social proof, with an abundance mindset this is a beautiful thing. Many companies are steeped in a fixed or scarcity mindset. It's something you don't even realize; it is hard to turn around.
I witnessed this at the very first conference I attended. I won't go into the details, but it was weird, to say the least. Later down the road, at another conference, I would be approached by a long time top leader and told I was non-compliant...a word I didn't even know at the time. That was a hard one; I had earned a top award and trained that weekend. I was still new to all this. It was upsetting and unsettling; I don't like when people are mad at me, I hate getting in trouble, and I don't want to do things wrong or be "non-compliant." She was not pleasant.
I witnessed leaders getting upset over how people shared online, getting into online arguments about whether it was "fair" for someone to use an influencer or be on the news. There were strict rules in place, but it was the arguments and concerns that confused me even more than the rules. I didn't understand why it mattered more to people what others did than it did what they could do.
I saw the need for change and I set out to create it. I worked with so many incredible people through my team, trainings, and training groups. I am most fulfilled when I am helping others; it's what I've now built my podcast, brand, and personal business on, connecting people with resources and helping them live out their goals. It started to become abundantly clear to me, though, that I could not change an entire company and all of the people in it. I thought I was that important at one point 😂, I did, I thought I was that influential and knowledgable, but it's business. It's a mindset. It's money.
Speaking of money, I wasn't making a lot. See that comp plan I didn't understand, it was not made for the business I had built. The biggest portion of leadership earnings were on a part of your organization called your personal group. These are all of the people in your organization who fall under you but have not been promoted to leadership or had anyone above them promoted to leadership. I developed leaders. I had the most leadership promotions on my team in the US the last year I was there. I brought this to the attention of influential people a number of times, and it made no sense to me. I was earning less as a top leader at one point than I did before that big and super special, jump to senior leadership. I was told to keep going and that in five years I'd be "earning more than I'd know what to do with." With those who were willing to be more honest, I was told I should stop helping so many promote to increase my group volume. I wouldn't, though, so if it was a contest between my income and others' success, I wanted them to win, I didn't need to make millions.
What was it taking, though? Rather than titles and compensation being based on volume and total sales, it was based on individuals keeping their accounts active. Obviously, the hope is that everyone would run parties and make lots of money, but that's never the case. When someone signs for a discount, they may try to earn, but ultimately they only want the discount. Or worse, they don't even want that anymore. Every month was filled with trying to find new customers and people to host parties, but more stressful, trying to get a certain number of individuals in my team to keep their accounts active or get engaged. This meant asking them to. There are a number of different ways to word it "offer your discount to friends and family" or "grab some things for gifts" but in order to keep getting paid and not lose my titles, I needed the numbers. Everyone did. Every month was stressful, whether it was my title or someone on my team, and every new month the stress started over. The numbers would drop or change on the morning of the first and the new strategy started. This is the same in almost all internal consumption companies. Anywhere it is worth signing up for a business just to get a discount.
I still have piles of Heart & Soul branded items; I would send them to team members to keep them wanting to stay active or engaged. I spent more money on gifts for my team and shipping than I did on my customers. I was doing what I understood to be normal, but...looking back, it seems a lot like I was bribing people for my benefit. I hate that. I hate that I didn't see it. I thought I was serving them. I don't know how or why, that was how it was, and I did it.
So, back to my team, who I loved and cared for so much, who loved and respected me, they stayed active for me. They placed orders they didn't need so that I could promote and hit numbers. Some would buy from others to help hit a goal...for me. During promotion months we kept track of who was engaged (had hit a sales goal) and they would encourage one another to buy or sell to a friend, we kept track and lifted those up who hit the numbers. When we reached the goal...I promoted but everyone rejoiced. For some, this will be mind-boggling, but others know exactly what I'm talking about. I may have had the love and respect but once the constant hustle started getting to me, once I decided I was done asking people to spend money to benefit me, once I realized that the effort was in no way worth the reward, which often times wasn't even money...but rather a title that means nothing in the real world, not only could I not do it, I wouldn't lead others into this any further. I didn't want this for them.
So, I was just going to lay low, keep serving, but know that I would slowly die, that my business would slowly die, I couldn't keep doing what I was. I had a high income but little to show for it. I had multiple assistants but was constantly working. I believed parties were going to die, and I didn't know the cure for that. I was lost but unwilling to leave. I felt like I couldn't help people be successful online anymore with parties, but that was my role. I wasn't happy, but I didn't want to do anything else and would not even consider it.
I've explained several times how my decision to resign came about. My cousin was sharing a
product. She was one of my biggest customers. Sarah had lost her son a few years before and we had grown closer. I wanted her to join my team, but she was cool and so busy, so when I saw her sharing another product, I was hella annoyed, but also going to support her. I tried the weight loss thing. I took a picture of my body because I was at one of those "omg, how did I let this happen?" points. I had a code to share with anyone, I sent it to my mom and said "Sarah is selling this, and we have to buy it from her." I used the system and continued working out the same. Weeks later I took another picture to show her how stupid it was and that it wasn't working, but it was. I didn't see it on the scale. It's a body composition shift, more muscle tone, more fat burning. Long story short, it was working so I shared my code some more. I hate these pictures 😂, I never wanted them to be public, but the results were hard to deny.
A few months later I came across a video explaining collagen and how theirs was different. I love science, I love research, I was so mad she hadn't even told me about this 😂. I went to add it to my next shipment and saw I had over $200 in product credits from just sharing my code with others. I called her and I believe my questioning went as follows "What is this? How does this work? Are you actually making money???" and her answers were essentially "I don't know how it works, I just share the products, and yeah I'm making money, it's weird." The amount she was earning from sharing was multiple times more than the large majority of my active team members. I wanted to understand because I wanted to copy it, and make it work for my team and company.
She wanted to get me on the phone with someone who could "explain it." I said no, I wasn't stupid, I couldn't be recruited, I make too much, care too much about my team, and would never sell anything else. She didn't care about recruiting me, though, she hardly knew what she was doing, so I got on the call to learn. I was shown a system, a science, and a completely different business. I was introduced to a business that I could offer others and feel confident that they could succeed in if they wanted, but also where customers could be honored as customers—no social security numbers for discounts. I was shown something that couldn't be adopted because it was complete and built from the ground up. A business full of integrity, leadership, solid pay structure, and where I could grow both in and outside my business.
I had this moment, standing at my stove, where I thought, "what would this do for Sarah's life if I did this?" I'll never forget that. It was a God moment. In the end, it wasn't what I would do for her life but what she did for mine and continues to do for so many others.
I was sick to my stomach. I was devastated that I could even be considering this. This was my community, my friends, and my "loyalty." When I told my husband, he said "please don't, let's wait." I told him I had to resign; I wouldn't continue to lead this way or pretend to for the sake of a paycheck. The question was whether I would resign and be done or resign and try something new. When I told my family and friends they were shocked, entirely shocked, and concerned about what this would mean.
When I told my dad, he said "Kate, I've felt like you have been underappreciated this whole time, I know you can do anything you put your mind to, if this feels right, you need to do it."
And that was all I needed.
I've said this before and I will continue to say it. Loyalty should never lie in a company or a brand. Loyalty should be reserved for humans, first your family, then those who look to you for guidance. A company is not your "home" or your "family." It's lovely to have community, but if you fear losing someone because of a business decision or fear what may be said about you for making a choice that is best for you, your family, your future, your health and wellness, and for anyone who depends on you, that's not family and it's not a safe community. If your identity lies in a product, please know you are worth more than that. If you are unhappy in any area of your life, it is always ok to fix it, life is too short, and you are worthy of happiness.
I found a business that was an amazing opportunity for myself and those who wanted to run a business. I found products that are groundbreaking, safe, clean, scientifically backed, and incredible for those looking for healthy options. I now run a business where my customers can be honored and rewarded for being customers all the time and I'm not trying to convince them they should start a business. I found a leadership position I was proud to be in and feel good encouraging those who want to see success. No begging for orders, no manipulating people I care about into buying with their discount, no stressing over numbers every month. Time freedom for family, a growing company and brand, and an income that reflects my output.
I've been through a lot, but I've never once questioned my decision.
There's more, thanks for hanging in there with me.
Love you, mean it.