Friday, June 30, 2017

Why I Decided to Become a Coach and Why I Decided to Quit | Part Three

I'm writing these posts for a few reasons - and this particular post is going to have some length, so just a fair warning. I'm sharing the first half again because my message seemed to have completely gotten lost among some, and I absolutely feel like I deserve to make it very clear and defend my point of view.


As somebody who loves writing, it's SO freeing to finally release bottled up emotions, feelings and even experiences. I chose to start coaching initially because I wanted to support my family financially since I felt guilty for taking extra weeks of unpaid maternity leave. It definitely affected us. I loved how it made me feel, and loved the relationships I formed with other coaches and girls I worked with. My intentions with coaching weren't as ugly as perceived by some. I wasn't only in it for the money, but of course, it helped and it was the selling point for me to say YES. I felt like I had a purpose, which I had been searching for as a new mom and someone who started a new job. I seeked community, and I found it with coaching. 

But the biggest reason I'm sharing my story is because I wish I had more knowledge of what I was getting myself into. I wasn't forced by anyone to coach. But I do feel like I started under false terms in a way. One of the biggest ways to recruit other coaches to your team is to preach to them that they will be doing exactly what they're already doing - working out, drinking shakes, eating healthy - just sharing your journey on social media. I was guilty of it too. I totally bought into that. I didn't know what I was getting into, but I didn't ask questions either. I did it. I started drinking the Beachbody kool-aid - inflated ego from compliments, the idea of owning my own business, forming friendships with other women who understood my goals and my dreams, earning money I could never earn as a teacher, being a "girl boss," sharing my story - not selling of course, the idea of helping people, seeing other very successful coaches and wanting to be like them. It's completely and utterly intoxicating. In many good ways, but for me, ways that turned me into somebody that I don't want to be.

I wish I knew that this business - the world of network marketing - requires so much more than just "doing what you're already doing." It requires a lot of dedication, commitment, money, time, and sacrifices if you are going to be successful. I wasn't wanting this to be a hobby, or do it for "fun." I wanted to make this a job. A real job. But I do wish I would have had the knowledge of what this job exactly entailed before I said YES to coaching. I may have chosen the same path, who knows - usually you don't know what something is like until you're in it for yourself anyway. I am in no way trying to deter anybody from becoming a coach - I'm all for supporting other women and chasing dreams. But I completely believe that knowledge is power. I truly feel that coaching was put in my life for a reason. I've grown as a woman, a mom, a wife, and a friend. I would hope that anybody who reads these words, aren't assuming that I'm speaking for every network marketer. I would hope that who ever reads this understands that this is MY story and MY experience, and shouldn't be taken as everybody's. My experience shouldn't be the reason anybody chooses or doesn't choose to do something, but it IS helpful to know all sides and truths before you make a decision for YOURSELF.

One of the amazing things I learned from coaching was the idea of empowering other women.
We constantly talked about empowerment and inspiring others to be the best they can, to take chances, to be healthy and fit, to own their beauty. It drove many of our social media posts. Our team encouraged and loved each other. I LOVED this. It's one of the best things I've taken away from my experience, and will continue implementing into my daily life away from coaching. But it's so funny how quickly the idea of empowering other women goes down the drain when someone who steps away from the business uses her own voice to reveal truths. Truths that want to be kept under wraps to protect this pretty picture created on social media and truths that could possibly hurt the business of recruiting.

Of course, I received feedback from my last post. I totally expected positives and negatives, and personally, I welcome either side. That's the whole premise of feeling empowered - the ability to use your own voice to share thoughts and feelings. I would be contradicting if I didn't welcome the negative feedback too, since I believe with all my heart, that everybody deserves to have a fair voice. However, the negative feedback I received has totally blown my mind. Not because it was so abundant - because really it was just a few - but because my words and my experiences were taken out of context. Because only PART of my story was being taken into consideration. I was accused of not taking ownership, of bashing the company, writing these posts with other intentions, throwing a blanket statement over all Beachbody coaches and other network marketers, of being all about the money, of painting a really ugly picture, lying about why I decided to quit, about hurting feelings. I even inspired some retaliation coaching posts. What happened to the idea of women empowerment and encouraging each other to use our voices? Apparently only if you're drinking the Beachbody kool-aid to SOME.

The great thing about having your own blog is that it's your OWN.
This MY space to share MY journey. You know what the keyword here is?

MY.


On MY blog, I'm allowed to share MY experiences TRUTHFULLY. I will defend myself and carry on the feeling of empowerment post-coaching. I've reread my first two stories several times. More than I can even count. I've had other people read my stories several times, too. And after rereading and really analyzing my posts, I still can't find justifications in the accusations thrown at me.

Did I throw a blanket statement over ALL Beachbody coaches or other network marketers?  Never, not once. Every time I reread my posts, I kept reading MY words about MY journey. For someone to say that I don't need to speak for all Beachbody coaches, you're SO RIGHT. It's a good thing that I'm not. For someone to anonymously say that I painted a pretty ugly picture about network marketing - I couldn't agree more. Not spending time with my husband, not being present with my child, being on my phone all the time, not doing my job as best as I should have, not taking care of my house, not fully enjoying time with my family, not doing things I loved, getting a couple hours of sleep some nights. That sounds pretty damn ugly to me. But that was ME. That was what MY life turned into - not because someone was twisting my arm to do these things. But because I chose to take on the roll of a coach, I chose to chase goals and dreams I thought I had. I took my title of coach and completely ran with it. I was dedicated and committed to being the best. In my head, I kept telling myself - short term sacrifice for long term gain. I was going to continue putting my all into this in hopes of it eventually paying off and me being able to fulfill my dreams. That was MY mindset. I never once claimed that it was EVERY network marketers life. Not once. And you know what else? Writing about your own experiences and thoughts is the absolute BEST way to take OWNERSHIP of your story. By sharing with y'all what my daily life was like and what I was doing each day, that's how I take responsibility of MY coaching experience. I bought into this system all on my own. Of course, my thoughts were influenced, but I take full responsibility for how MY experience evolved.

It seems as though it was taken that all Beachbody coaches and network marketers are only out for business and waiting for their next sale. I don't believe that most coaches are cut-throat salesmen with no interest in their clients. I wasn't. I do believe it's completely absurd to say that you're not worried about the money aspect of it AT ALL. As many of you know, I'm a teacher. And believe it or not, several Beachbody coaches are or were teachers too. I think there's a reason for that. Teachers and Beachbody coaches have something in common - they both have hearts that want to do better for others. They want to make people (or kids) better versions of themselves. As much as I love kids, love watching them succeed and learn, want what's best for them - as many Beachbody coaches want for their clients - I could not see myself doing my job for free. Even though I have the best of intentions, I care about these kids like they were my own - I still have responsibilities that need to be taken care of at home. Bills to be paid, food to be put on our table, mortgage payment, clothing, daycare, etc. The same goes for Beachbody coaches. Even if you're in this with the best of intentions and truly love building relationships with people, money is still part of the equation. I can't imagine that all of the time, work, dedication, commitment, money you put into your Beachbody business you would do for charity. You wouldn't be able to be that stay at home mom without making sales. Although most Beachbody coaches don't post salesy pictures of their products (and if you are, you really need to stop) - they post pictures of their lifestyle - they are absolutely sharing their life to sell products and reach new goals each month. This job wouldn't exist without selling products and making money. 

I am SO glad that this business works for some people. I truly mean that.
It's a great chance to be your own boss, to form relationships with people, to earn income for your family that you may never have earned from your regular job, the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, the chance to change people's lives. It can be pretty incredible. But it's not for ME. I guess I'm not as awesome as some other coaches who juggle all these different aspects of their business and personal life. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. And clearly, one of my weaknesses is time management and being overly committed. It's inevitably what ignited the fire in the decision of me quitting. If I commit to something, I give it my all and refuse to give other people anything short of my best. But for those that totally rock at the balancing game, you're the real MVP.

I continue to preach on social media, to my friends, my family how amazing Beachbdoy has been for me. I was in a place of unhappiness and insecurity for a long time. Beachbody gave me life - workout programs that are doable and enjoyable, meal plans that are realistic. I feel like myself again, I feel confident, and I feel present again in my life. Never would I bash a company after what they've done for me. I'm not bashing anyone with these stories - if anyone, I should bash myself for letting my life turn into what it did. I learned that network marketing is not for me, not Beachbody. If anything, I'm really discouraged by the false accusations from coaches once I did share my story. I'm discouraged that my words were taken out of context and accused of false accusations publicly and behind the scenes.


Like I said, my stories are my stories.
I am here to use my voice, share my story, and use my experiences to do it.
You can read this, or not. I'm not really bothered if I offend anybody by being honest.
But I will stick up for myself, and I will continue to feel empowered.

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Before reading below, catch up on PART ONE and PART TWO. :)

I'll rewind just a tad and go back to around Thanksgiving. It was a really slow time for most coaches due to the time of year - holidays, parties, family gatherings. Not many people are looking to lose weight before the New Year. Heck - I was one of those people that would eat whatever I wanted and just "go on a diet" once the New Year started. Guilty as charged. Around this time, my team had a pretty big goal to hit - a Diamond goal.


To understand that, I guess you kinda have to understand how coaching ranks work within Beachbody. It's a little messy, but bear with me. First of all, you have to have a Home Direct order valued at at least 90PV. So with most coaches, they have their Shakeology renewed and shipped automatically each month to equal their 90PV. (There are other ways, but that's most common) Once you sign up as a coach, you have two legs - a right leg and a left leg. Every time somebody signs up as a coach under you, they are assigned to one of your legs. Your goal is to keep your legs balanced in order to help with ranking. The first rank you hit is Emerald - two coaches, one on each of your legs. Most people's next step is Diamond. In order to be Diamond, you need to have an Emerald coach on each of your legs. So that means, two coaches who have earned their own Emerald rank - or a lot of times, people sign up family members and build their accounts to Emerald. Counting the two emeralds on each of your legs, you have to have a total of four ACTIVE coaches on EACH leg (eight total). Active is the key word - usually for me it was making sure that my customers were actively getting their Shakeology each month (hence the push for getting people to purchase shakes). If someone delays their order or cancels, they do not count towards your ranking.

Like I said, around Thanksgiving we were given the challenge by our bigger team to reach Diamond. If we reached our goal by a certain date, we were invited to go on this amazing winter retreat in the mountains with other women from around the country who have also reached this milestone. Photoshoot, swag bags, training, team bonding. It looked absolutely incredible and was something I wanted to push for. But for me, I struggled so much signing up new people around this time because so many weren't focused on weight loss. And honestly, I couldn't blame them. I had been one of those same people until I made my health part of my own business. The deadline came and passed and I missed it.

I think in a way it kinda took the wind out of my sails around this time. But after that point, I put it in my head that my 'Diamond Day' would come when it was absolutely meant to. I was going to stop pushing so hard and feeling like I was forcing people to say "yes." I realized that you can't force people to want this. They have to want this for themselves. So I took a step back, did my daily job with my Power Hours, and decided to stop stressing over becoming a Diamond coach. I had girls delaying and quitting, but had a decent foundation. I felt like it truly would happen when it was suppose to. I went through most of December a little unfocused, got really sick like I mentioned, Harper was constantly battling ear infections, I last minute planned Harper's first birthday, and kinda just hung on by strings through Christmas.


Christmas came and passed and then all of a sudden it was my business started completely turning around. The coach hosting the retreat surprised us and extended the deadline. So my shot at reaching Diamond and going on the retreat was all of a sudden still possible. The week after Christmas was CRAZY. I had people contacting me about signing up to start the New Year. Finally, all those days of posting on social media about my own health and fitness journey was starting to pay off - I was starting to be taken more seriously as a coach I felt like. I would spend hours messaging girls, inviting girls, starting conversations with girls in hopes of filling my legs to finally say that I was Diamond. I remember sitting on the floor in Harper's playroom signing girls up as she played around me. The feeling was such a rush. It was exciting, intoxicating, addicting. But all while my focus was on coaching, it even more so started to drift away from the things that should have mattered most.

I'm pretty sure January 3rd (ish) was my official 'Diamond Day.'
I remember feeling completely blown away that I was making this business work.
I think when I first started, I thought I would give this coaching thing a shot. I really had nothing to lose I thought. We needed extra money, I needed a bigger purpose since I wasn't directly in the classroom, and I wasn't feeling so insecure and unhappy with my own appearance. I remember when I had first started, hearing that someone was a 'Diamond Coach' felt so - fancy and legit. And here I was, five months into starting my own "business" and I was all of a sudden - legit. At least I felt that way. I think in a way this totally changed my mentality. I was even more dedicated to making this work. I started seeing a bigger picture. I started dreaming dreams I never knew I had. I started realizing that this could be something that completely changed our lives. How I posted on social media and how I talked to people was different. I was more confident in everything I did, and it showed within my business.


With earning the Diamond title - things started to change.

Remember when I said you have to have an Emerald on each leg to be Diamond?
My Emeralds didn't come from other girls wanting to be coaches like me - that would have been the best scenario and would have saved me a lot of money. My Emeralds came from my family members. Back in August my sister had signed up as a discount coach under me, but eventually had to go Inactive because she couldn't afford Shakeology anymore. I began working her account, adding girls I was talking to under her, and also paying to keep her Active - buying Beachbody merchandise each month under her account. I also convinced my husband to be my other Emerald, and also paying for merchandise to keep him Active as well. I was spending a lot of money ($286ish) trying to keep my two Emeralds active and myself too, but felt like eventually it would pay off in the end and I would hopefully start recruiting other coaches to help make up for the loss. Typically by the end of the month, after paying out what I needed to keep everybody Active and with money I earned from recruiting other girls, I was still earning a small income - some weeks better than others.

Along with being Diamond, I took on a more leadership type roll within our smaller team. The team calls became more and more. Within the month of January, I had about ten team calls in the evenings after work. New coach calls, regular team calls, Diamond calls, etc. Not only was I working a full time job, I came home around 4:30-5, worked out, played with my child as much as I could, attempted dinner some nights, helped get her ready for bed and usually by 8 o'clock, was ready for a team call for an hour or sometimes more. Ten may not seem like much, but when you're working a full time job already it adds up. But like I mentioned, once I earned the title of Diamond, I was more committed than ever trying to maintain my rank and grow my business.

At this time I also launched my own team - Hustle + Heart.
I created welcome packets for each one of my newly signed up girls, create a team page on Facebook, and tried to post in the group consistently with words of encouragement, challenges, and tips. I knew if I wanted to make it big, eventually I would have to branch off a little bit from my bigger teams and create something that was mine. I wasn't putting forth a ton of time, but I wanted to let my challengers know that they were part of me and my team. That I honestly and truly cared about these girls and we were in this together.

My social media posts started changing too like I mentioned.
I ended up paying $60 for someone to analyze my Instagram specifically and tell me what I needed to do different to attract more business. I downloaded more editing apps, I learned how to make my posts more bright and appealing, I strategically planned out my posts each day and what time I would do it, and I stopped being as salesy looking with my posts. All of a sudden it just kind of clicked for me - I let my creativity show through, I was more open and honest with my words in my postings, I was sharing my life and how these programs, meal plans, shakes, team changed me for the better. At least that's what I was portraying. I wasn't posting about how my marriage was struggling. I was posting about how I was spending maybe an hour with my child every day during the week. I was posting I was staying up until 2am some night on growing my business. But I started painting this really pretty picture. And I became OBSESSED with social media. It was literally the first thing I thought of when I woke up sometimes. I would spend 30 minutes crafting posts.
But I was committed. I was dedicated.


And yep, you guessed it.
My 'Diamond Day' was perfectly timed for the Winter Retreat deadline.
I was going. I was legit enough to go on a retreat with other girls who were legit too. Girls who worked their butts off to make this business their own. Who pushed like me, who built relationships like me, who had big dreams like me. I felt like I went through the whole month of January in disbelief that I did it. Eventually, the retreat crept up on me and soon enough, I was packing my bags and hitting the road to the North Georgia mountains. Cody, my husband, was nothing but supportive of me going on this trip. He took care of Harper for three days no problem, and wanted nothing more for me than to enjoy this time and have fun. He said I deserved it. "I deserve this." I kept telling myself. He was right. I totally did. I was working two jobs, not including my job as being a mom and wife. So, with that mentality, I went and had one of the best weekends of my life.


I wrote about my weekend retreat HERE.

I came back from that retreat with new friendships, a more educated outlook on my business, trainings that taught me how to grow and flourish, professional looking pictures, potential social media posts about friendship, community, business, being a girl boss that would last me weeks, more confidence than I've ever had in my entire life, the assurance that my dreams of growing my own business and being a stay at home mom was possible, and a FIRE in my heart for coaching. I realized how much I truly loved helping other girls find themselves and appreciate their own beauty all while being healthy. Women empowerment - it was a beautiful thing that I was part of and I loved it. This was it. This was what I was meant to do. All the times I stayed up late, worked on my business morning, lunch breaks, evenings, didn't spend time with my child and husband - it was all short term sacrfrices for a long term gain. I was totally justified. I felt nothing short of amazing and my starting booming.


Part Four coming soon.

Catch up on reading...

PART ONE
PART TWO
PART THREE

8 comments :

  1. The first thing I thought while reading this was "I love being a teacher but there is no way I'd do my job for free". I think if people felt your previous post were "all about making money", they're either crazy or don't need an income. As a new mama who spent most of maternity leave looking for an alternative income so I didn't have to go back to work, I've really enjoyed reading your posts. Sometimes the sacrifices aren't worth the success. Keep telling YOUR story and YOUR experience! [See what I did there? ;) ]

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  2. I find these posts fascinating and I love that you're telling your story! I've sold a MLM product before, so I understand some of the background. I never really got into it the way you dove into Beachbody, because it just wasn't my passion. You had a passion for this and I think that's why it's upset others that you're telling your truth about it. Keep writing, friend! I'm here to support you!

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  3. I appreciate your honestly with these posts. Your beach body journey blew me away and I had considered becoming a coach several times because of it. What it comes down to for me is that right now selling things is just not for me. Complete side note- I would love for you to share how you edit your photos. They always look amazing!!

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  4. I love that you're writing these posts and boo to the naysayers. You are very clear that these are YOUR experiences. I feel a lot of times Beachbody coaches automatically go into defensive mode whenever someone gifts negative feedback about being a coach. I get it, its sometimes their livelihood, but its not for everyone.

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  5. Lauren, I am so sorry if I (or any other coach) ever made you feel like you should silence your voice. I think you are a very talented writer, and I honestly have loved reading your point of views. I really appreciate you posting the first half of this post, and I wish it would have been posted in part one. Because if IM being completely honest, your other posts DID have me sad and mad. I DID feel like you were making blanket statements about coaching (though obviously not your intention and I am obviously biased) which did hurt my feelings because I did not have the same experience.

    Anyway, I think you have ever right to share your story. I hate that it ended for you the way it did. But I have loved getting to know you through this

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  6. I think it is ridiculous that anyone would have been offended by your first posts. You're just sharing your journey and experience and I never felt like you bashed Beachbody or their coaches. I just feel like you were explaining what drew you in and why in the long run it wasn't right for you. You were so inspiring with sharing your journey on social media, and I really appreciate your honesty with your experience. I feel like a lot of people don't understand how MLM works and they get wrapped up in it when it might not be for them. You do you girl!!! Don't let anyone make you feel bad for sharing your story.

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  7. Keep writing! This is your blog, your life, and your words!

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  8. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience! I've never been interested in MLMs because it does truly seem like a pyramid scheme, but the most important thing about Beachbody is that it's making people learn about taking care of themselves and their health. Please don't let anyone tell you not to share your story! It's such an important one!

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