By Michelle Johnson
I’m Michelle Johnson, a stay at home mother of two amazing daughters, and my husband, Rob, is a recent MBA graduate. During Rob’s last 2 ½ years of school, our finances were tighter than we would have liked. Okay, so we were flat broke.
One of my dearest friends got involved in a work at home opportunity that appealed to me and I immediately saw the opportunity to help with the finances. I enrolled right away, signed up six people…and stopped. And my downline stopped after me, as well. So, I had to ask myself why. Why is such an incredible opportunity so hard to make succeed when it’s filled with motivated people?
The answer was simple: a complete lack of effective tools.
You can believe in a company and product with every fiber of your being, but unless you are provided with the actual tools to make a business succeed…9 times out of 10 it won’t get off the ground.
I felt very frustrated that I had no real tools to work my business (except for a some great ad examples). Every person had a different system for everything. When it came to actually running an effective, organized business there were few to no practical tools available.
I was left with the start of an amazing and exciting business and no idea how to run it and keep it organized. The organization became a significant problem when I did a co-op and received a total of 80 leads in only a few weeks. As wonderful as that is to anyone starting a business, if you can't keep up with them, it can also be quite discouraging and overwhelming. People who would normally sign on, pass because of your inability to keep track of everything. I had 100 pages of handwritten chicken-scratch notes that were practically worthless.
I realized quickly that if I, a woman with a decade of marketing experience, couldn’t keep this up well, my downline was likely to fail, too. I looked up at the pictures of my downline, who were now my friends, and their children…their “why,” and my heart sank. I stopped everything I was doing for my own business and I launched myself into creating tools, ads, and organizers for them. It was more important to me that their business grows and succeeds than for my own to do the same. These are people who have placed faith in not only the opportunity, but in me as their support person to help them succeed.
My husband is an expert programmer. One of the first things I did when I became a business builder was ask him to build me a database to keep track of my leads, customers, co-op contacts, etc. My desk was covered in enrollment forms, notes, and binders full of leads. My lack of organization came across to my leads and it cost me some good customers. I’ve been in professional marketing before and I knew this was no way to run my business. I knew a good database could help me keep my conversations, follow-up dates, and contacts organized. Rob made it and it worked beautifully!
Then I started placing my ads. I had created a great paper system for ad tracking, but it was still a lot of handwriting and work…which means I ultimately didn’t keep it up. So, I realized that would be a good addition to my lead tracking database and asked Rob to add that on. Boy, what a difference that made! I could place ads easily, keep track of when they expired, what I said, how much I paid…everything!
Next, I organized my first co-op. What a production that was! Trying to keep track of each individual, how many shares they purchased, which co-op they’re interested in, who got the last lead, who has paid, etc., was a HUGE task. Co-ops are fantastic, but let’s face it, there is quite a lot of administration to go along with them! Naturally, I asked my husband to add a co-op tracker on to our database as well. The Co-op Manager was the icing on the cake. I now had an easy way to place expensive ads and get out of the saturated free ad market.
My initial intention was to have a bare-bones tool for my use alone. Then I realized my organization would definitely need something like this. Soon enough I realized that EVERY single one of us, not only in my company, but in other Network Marketing businesses needs something like this. So, Rob and I started talking about adapting it for many, many people and making the whole thing a little bigger…and a little bigger.
We did some research and found that there are a couple of corporate contact management software packages out there. BUT, they are all extremely expensive (at $20-$90+ PER MONTH). That’s fine for someone who’s ALREADY successful with their business, but it’s those of us who are just starting who need it the most! I started this business so I could MAKE $90+ a month! We quickly decided that it was extremely important that our site was affordable to EVERYONE…but especially for the moms starting a new business. They need the money, and they are the ones we really want to help succeed!
We also found that NONE of the other packages offer Ad or Co-op trackers. Those are essential to our business!! The co-ops were the only way I could afford to place expensive ads and get quality leads!
At this point, we knew we had to make this business idea a reality. There was such a huge need in this market, and we could help so many families all at once! What a blessing!!
We needed to figure out how on Earth we would make time to create an entire company! Our priorities are God and family and we stand very firm on those. So, to avoid taking away from our family time, my good husband woke at 5am every day to work a couple of hours before he left for work. He worked again after our children were put to bed and often didn’t come to bed until the wee hours of the morning. Then he would rise at 5am to work some more. I would test what he created over naptime and write down a list of changes, improvements, and suggestions.
After seven months of hard work we have what we think is an amazing home business management tool and the successful launch of our new company: Work From The Hearth (www.workfromthehearth.com).
Now, we spend time in the evening placing ads after our children are asleep, and our company is growing every day. It’s really no different advertising this company than it was advertising the home-based business that got us started in this direction! We place free ads every day, and paid ads when we can. We are on a very tight budget (still recovering from the 2 ½ years of graduate school – he just graduated in December), but we make do with what we have. We really believe in the service we offer, and that comes through in everything we do.
Our goal was never to get rich (although it will be a great blessing to go to the grocery store without a calculator). We will always measure our success by the successes of those we help.
I really enjoy knowing I am helping other moms succeed in their home-based businesses. That is the most satisfying part of our new company. We’ve taken the overwhelming disorganization of home businesses and laid it out in a way that is so smooth and easy to use that even a novice can use it.
The most exciting part is that I know the mothers who use our site will spend more time playing with their children and less time trying to organize their business. That’s success right there.
It is so important to make sure you live within your priorities and passion when starting a new business. Our priorities are God and family first. Our business was a priority, too, but not our first priority. We sacrificed our personal time to work the business…not our family time.
Our passion is in helping mothers who want to stay home with their children…and this fit perfectly. When you do what you love, and love what you do, you are already a success.
Michelle Johnson is a mother of two daughters and a stay at home mom. She and her husband, Rob, created Work From The Hearth (www.workfromthehearth.com) on faith and long hours.
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