I started this blog post with a rough outline of when I met my friend Jen Harkleroad and how, a few years later I became part of her team of market partners selling monat! The funny thing? This timeline really has nothing to do with shampoo at all! It’s about the paths of two woman crossing and for me, personally, that leading to me coming (or some might say, coming back to) my passions and all the things I love!
Hear me out.
You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do, you should go do them!
I can hear Lara Casey’s voice saying this so clearly in my mind — it’s a phrase she coined many years ago during the start of a movement called “Making Things Happen.” This was before the instagram era (gasp!) when creative conferences were popping up across the country as blogs were becoming small businesses and entrepreneurs were flooding the creative scene. Lara Casey, Emily Ley and Gina Zeidler were like the pioneers of social selling, blogging their way from city to city for this conference and I was definitely following along!
I won a scholarship to attend Making Things Happen based on a write up I submitted through Lara Casey’s blog and I can remember receiving a phone call from her with the news — THE Lara Casey personally inviting me to attend— I was on cloud nine and DEFINITELY going!
The whole experience was really, quite transformative at the time, taking place in the big apple of all places; everyone left on fire for their goals and big dreams. I didn’t waste anytime and launched Fit for a Bride not long after until I found CrossFit and then got featured in Lara Casey’s magazine, Southern Weddings: all of which supported the goal I’d set at the conference to become an influencer in the health/wellness space. Except this was before “influencer” was a well-known/common term! Really, I just wanted to be influential by sharing my story and helping others — that kind of thing!
Well, you know what happened next: JR was born; very early! And any notion or plans of blogging or doing anything outside of being with him went flying out the window. The plan was: GET HOME. Figure the rest out later. Of course when he finally did and the dust began to settle, I started to wonder about some of those more typical new-mother things, like photos; newborn photos!
I decided to turn to a Facebook group formed from Making Things Happen alum to ask if anyone was local and willing to come to our home for pictures — this was during the holiday, so it was a long shot but guess who reached out? Guess who volunteered for the job… long before shampoo or multilevel marketing was even on her radar… Jen did! 🙂
And can you believe she didn’t charge us? Not a single dime! I still can’t get over that to this day… it was such an incredibly generous gift! And guys, when I tell you my eyes swelled so big when we got the proofs back!! It was unreal!! I’d never seen my sweet boy like this before: free of all the cords and monitors and home—no longer in a sterile hospital environment!
I CRIED. You bet I did… here I was: a mother with the most precious, gorgeous baby. We were finally starting our new life together and considering the hell we’d been through in the NICU, it was shock to see ourselves this way; like something out of a magazine!
Let’s take a walk back in time, shall we??
Jen was super sweet and we clicked instantly! I was obsessed with the photos and called her a couple of months later to capture JR’s first birthday…
These are also some of my very faves!
Jen is truly talented behind-the-camera!
Gosh, you guys do you see what’s happening here? Jen is literally right there by my side in this new chapter of my life called motherhood! She’s standing by capturing all the smiles, laughter and fun; and like so many of the friends we’ve met through JR, we felt a special connection to her— coming to our home in those early days, not judging the oxygen or the chaos of bottles and burp cloths in the kitchen. She was also eager to make it look beautiful through her lens and seeing it through there helped me see it that way, too; and these pictures — along with several others she’s taken — often pulled me back to these pages to write the story behind the images; and that, friends is a place I’m happy to be; a place I feel I belong!
Well, goodness— are you surprised I called Jen when I made it full-term with Caden? She knew how exciting this was and I knew she was just the person to call to help me capture and document the special time.
By now Jen was selling Monat and if you can’t tell from the photos above, my hair needed some major help!
What I didn’t share about these first few years of motherhood was that I felt pretty awful about my appearance. I’d gained a ton of weight and I was overwhelmed with full-time working and full-time mothering; not to mention pushing 200 lbs at 8 months pregnant! As a result I was shelling out hundreds of dollars every few weeks to bleach my hair — white blonde — and my ends were fried. I tried to go dark to cover the damage but it didn’t work: my hair was dull and dry. I remember cutting my bangs hoping that would help but that didn’t work either; I was a loss!
Luckily Jen had a solution: monat!
And it wasn’t like she pushed it on me — her hair was noticeably soft and flowy; noticeably a lot healthier and shiner than mine! When I asked her secret she told me about monat and the VIP program!
At that time, I was desperate for anything to feel good about myself again and Iat this point, I trusted Jen! I signed up as her VIP customer and purchase during a flash sale on of the buy-one get-one deals! She sent me so many instructions for washing, I remember taking screenshots of her texts and taking the phone with me into the bathroom before my shower – LOL. Since when was washing your hair such a production? WELL. Whatever this non-sense was, it worked! From that first wash I started receiving compliments on my hair!
To be completely honest I tried switching shampoos a few times (just thinking I couldn’t afford Monat, or was it really working?) and every single time I went back to Monat, I’d get a compliment; not even kidding! By this time I was back to the blonde, too but not bleaching as often. Overall, the shampoo was helping with manageability! Despite continuing to chemically process my hair it felt and looked soft! It was also growing; finally — after nearly frying it all off a year prior!
I’ve used the products for 3 years now and I can hands down say that my hair is looking healthier than ever before. Not only that but I ENJOY doing my hair. The products have given me a reason to spend more time with my hair: in the shower, and afterward. I’m taking better care of myself just by using these products that kind of force me to pay attention to things like my scalp, my ends, and other stuff that goes totally unnoticed when you’re a mom rocking a sockbun most days!
I was a pretty happy VIP customer but I was’n’t ordering all the time. Money had become really tight since moving into our first single family home and having a second child.
We metup for coffee and I shared my desire to get back int othe blogging space; back where I was way before I met Jen, at the Making Things Happen Conference — only now, I told her — I want to blog abotu our son and his incredible story. I want to use these social platforms to pull back the veil and give people a glimpse into our life. I want to get back to sharing and encouraging others; remember, ti’s been able that all along!
Jen was such a great friend listening intently that day. She didn’t mention selling monat during that conversation but looking back I can almost see the wheels turning; I mean — guys, knowing what I know now about how this business works, she had to have seen how great this would be for me: Just based on the collaborative mentorship offered with photography, social media, branding and marketing; it was like a red carpet back into the blogging world — perhaps not solely for the purpose of the selling shampoo (duh) but also as a means to share our story authentically and organically online, which: check this out; I’m doing that right now!
I didn’t know all this when I signed up. I wanted to do it — I mean Jen made it look pretty fun and easily, but I didn’t really know what it’d entail…. LOL. Not at all really! A year into this process I can say, HOLY COW, this has been a GAME CHANGER. To anyone who is stuck in a rut; looking for community and/or mentorship, or a mastermind or extra money: direct sales is CHALLENGING but in the best possible way! Its’ like a course in self-development highlighting your strong suits and exposing your weaknesses, and constantly calling on you to improve; to keep going; keep trying; keep learning; get better!
I plan to blog a lot more about what’s it like to be a market partner but I can honestly say that I’m so glad that I took this leap. I’m so glad that Jen gave me the nudge to try this! In the last year I’ve made huge strides resurfacing on the social media scene — still working to be present and share our story more often! I’ve earned some incredible bonuses that were literally life-savers at the time: paying for our portion fo a rental property during a family vacation; JR’s 4th birthday decorations; and Christmas! Who doesn’t love a Christmas bonus?? This business has also brought me out of a dark place— hating my body, my hair and my appearance! I have more confidence now and I’m enjoying getting in front of the camera and pouring into self-care! The list goes on and on, and I’m honestly only just beginning this thing!
Jen is an incredible leader and it’s been such a blessing to get to be on her team and learn from her in this business! She’s an ennegram 2 (like me!) and she gives so much of herself to her teammates and friends, just as she did from the first day I met her doing that free photoshoot for us! What a special gift that was — one taht kept on giving in a way niether of us could have imagined way back then!
So, guys, that’s it! Becoming a monat market partner was sort of synonymous with becoming a mother, huh? From bringing the baby home to having the second, this product, the company and my team/fearless leader, Jen has really brought me back to the place I was leaving New York — big-eyed and optimistic about the future! Did I think it would be with direct sales? Heck no, but I love that it’s taken me out of my comfort zone and challenged and stretched me in new ways!
How have your dreams and goals evolved over the years?
Did things change when/if you became a mom? What does coming back to your passions mean for you? Fitness? Cooking?
What hobbies make you feel good about you and the season of life you’re in?