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In 2014, my husband and I participated in a 67-day Sugar-free eating challenge. We continued this way of eating for 7 months and each lost 30 pounds. We were shocked at how easily it fell off! The crazy part was there were no expensive shakes to buy, supplements or pills to take, or exercise videos to watch. And we weren't starving ourselves! It was all through education and learning about what we were eating, how it affects our bodies, and learning how sugar is disguised under various names in our food.

The biggest tool we learned was how to incorporate this empowering knowledge into our everyday lives and to create alternative sugar-free recipes for those we had been using for years. If we got a sweet tooth, instead of just throwing in artificial sweeteners, we learned how to sweeten foods by using naturally sweet foods such as dates and various fruits. One of the best recipes I created for myself was a smoothie that tastes like a chocolate milkshake, but it's actually energizing and nutritious! It has been such a helpful recipe for me when I get a craving for icecream but am trying to watch my wasteline. Not to mention, when you're a mom chasing after little ones, you need to take care of your health so you have the energy to get through the day!

Here is the recipe!

Healthy Chocolate Shake (sugar-free, dairy free)

  • 1/2 c instant oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 c unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c frozen cubed mango
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 c fresh spinach
  • 1 scoop Garden of Life protein powder
  • 1-2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until liquified. Add more almond milk to thin texture if needed. If you need more, simply double the amounts. If you're breastfeeding and need a boost in your supply, throw in a scoop of Brewer's Yeast. If you have little ones, throw this mixture into popsicle molds for a tasty and nutritious treat!

*I do not receive compensation for recommending this protein supplement. I simply love it and wanted to share!

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You sign onto facebook. A new message?! How exciting! You see the name of someone you haven't seen in a long time. They've just requested to friend you. How great is this? Suddenly, your heart sinks when you begin reading these wopartnerrds....."Hey! So good to hear from you! I was wondering if you've ever heard of "Such and such a company" before? Well, I'd love for you to try xyz or join my team as I feel you'd be such a great fit promoting xyz".... "Ugh. Stupid MLMs", you think, as you roll your eyes. "WHY do they always find me on here and why are people always bothering me to buy their stuff with these scam companies!"

Happy Solemnity of the Feast of the Assumption!

A big thing I LOVE about being Catholic as how pro-woman The Church is. We LOVE our Holy Mother Mary for her incredible example of holy femininity and motherhood, and how she leads us closer to her son, Jesus! And how cool is it that God made her Queen of Heaven?! The Catholic church exalts the feminine body and works very hard to protect it from being desecrated and objectified. This is a huge reason why we don't believe in using hormonal contraception, which not only comes with its numerous health risks, but also the damage it can inflict on our fertility. I could write about this for several posts, but I'll just recommend you listen to Janet Smith's Contraception, Why Not?  or Jason Evert's Green Sex presentations on CD:-)

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Ever since taking NFP classes during our pre-cana (marital prep), I've continued to learn as much as I can about my body and how my lifestyle choices affect my fertility. So many women out there just accept that hormonal birth control is the best and only option for them, and live their lives hardly learning anything about how amazing and incredible our bodies are; especially when it comes to our fertility. 

When I began this blog over 2 years ago, I began with my reconversion story. I wrote it in three installments, but after looking back over it, I realized I didn't really finish it! So today, I'm going to finish it and may come back and add to it over the years......

I find it funny that I'm finishing up this story in the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Iggy has played an interesting role in my faith journey. Back in 2008, I began an internship with an organization that was housed in an old building that had at one time been a Jesuit seminary called St. Loyola Academy. Right next door was St. Ignatius church. I began this internship right around the same time my brother joined the Society of Jesus/The Jesuits, an order that was started by St. Ignatius. It was around that time I had started coming back to the faith after several instances where God made it absolutely obvious He was pursuing me. So, now that you know that interesting little side story, I'll continue with part 4 of my reconversion story!

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Many of you have recently joined the world of MLMs (Multi-level Marketing companies). Some of you promote essential oils, exercise programs, cosmetics, clothing, jewelry, handbags, etc. Or, you sell beautiful homemade crafts and masterpieces online or at local trade shows. Or maybe you’re a blogger! (raises hand) As this new year gears up, perhaps some of you are considering the leap into a side hustle for its flexibility, the potential for bringing in extra income for your family, or because you're yearning for something to put your creative energy and talents toward.

Last June, I jumped into the world of network marketing and I'm so glad I did! But, with any new adventure comes valuable lessons learned. In today's post, I'll be sharing the top 10 things you should consider before taking the leap.

 

Spend some time thinking about what you’re passionate about and then find an MLM company that aligns with your passion AND values.

I can’t stress this enough. Be sure to research the company and make sure they don’t promote or donate to missions or organizations that you don’t morally align with. The last thing you want is to become deeply invested in a company, only to find out down the road that they support something that will make you lose sleep at night and have daily fights with your conscience. That brings me to my next point……

 

Make sure the company practices with sound morals and good ethics.

This should be obvious, but too many people assume that if a company and its products are popular, that the company must be a good and ethical company to work for. I believe a good company is transparent with their consultants and clients, is willing to fall on their own sword when they've made a mistake, have a high-quality product(s) with a realistic price point, aren't always about making a quick buck, and are passionate about fulfilling a real need; not just indulging in a fleeting trend or fad. Some trend products are fun to sell, but if you’re going to build a small business and want it to last for more than a few years, invest in a company that’s fulfilling a need that people will want for a while and is not a demand that will fizzle out after a few years.

 

Think about who your audience would be if you began promoting this company and its products.

Family and friends? Only those who you know through social media? Will you have to go out and seek new clients? Will you need to hold vendor booths at various events and conferences? How will these things fit with your personality? How will any associated expenses fit with your lifestyle? Your budget? Your schedule? Are you comfortable working with social media and public speaking? Are you willing to invest in the time it will take to learn about the products and mission that you’ll be promoting?

 

Look up reviews and talk to someone who is currently employed with the company or has worked with the company you’re interested in.

Make sure the company treats their employees, consultants, and customers with the upmost respect and gives quality customer service to everyone who reaches out to them. Again, this includes BOTH consultants (you) and clients.

 

Learn the difference between a Multi-level Marketing company (an MLM) and a Pyramid Scheme.

They are NOT the same, but sadly, due to the terrible stereotypes created by notorious pyramid schemes in the 90s, we’ve got our work cut out for us in undoing this damage. The good news? Hardly any real pyramid schemes still exist. However, you'll often find the need to explain the difference to people you're introducing your products and company to:-/

When I first heard about MLMs and saw various posts from friends promoting them on social media, I have to admit....I rolled my eyes a few times. But once I joined myself, I realized that so many of us moms were striving for many of the same goals. This is a good article from HuffPo that articulates many of my feelings about moms who work with MLMs.

So what are the key differences? First, an MLM is designed very similarly to any other company, but the majority of their employees do not have office space in one building. This saves big time on overhead costs for them, while giving employees like you and me greater independence to work from home and with our own hours. Here’s a helpful tutorial on the main differences between the two.

 

Do you believe in the company and its products?

Before joining, try to sample as many of the products as possible. Then, decide if you'll actually use the products and if you're truly passionate about promoting the products, the company, and its overall mission. People can sniff out a fake and can tell whether you’re being genuine with them. Plus, in the day-to-day of your hustle, the last thing you'll want is to feel like you're faking your way into a sale and/or recruiting others to join your team. Not only is this unethical, but your conscience will make you miserable (and rightfully so!).

One big reason I knew my side hustle was a great fit was because I was (and still am) excited to share about our company’s mission and its products to EVERYONE-not just my friends and family. It all aligns with what I’m passionate about and it allows my work to effortlessly show up in conversations with others; whether it’s updating them on what I’ve been up to, sharing about what I do for a living with a new acquaintance, making small talk at the hair salon or in the checkout line, etc. For example, before starting this side hustle, I was passionate about preventing cancer and illness by being more aware of what I'm putting in and on my body, and any products I'm using in our home. I was already sharing with others about this, so bringing up my side hustle in conversation came naturally. If the company and its products don’t fit in with your lifestyle or you have difficulty envisioning how it can be relevant to anyone else's life, it will be very hard to market the company and its products to a sizeable audience.

 

Make sure the start-up costs fit within your budget.

The excitement that comes with starting your own business can make you get carried away. When it comes to your initial investment, be frugal and take it one step at a time until you start bringing in revenue. Until you start seeing a return on your investment, you want to be careful not to get in over your head right away. This can make you feel overhelmed and discouraged, and leads many to throw in the towel before they've really even begun!

I recommend finding a company that only charges you up front for sign up fees, basic supplies (like a consultant website or backend portal for keeping you organized, order forms, etc.), and training tools to get started. Companies that require you to pay for your own merchandise to sell can create a hefty amd burdensome investment and can start you off on a bad foot financially. Find a hustle that allows you to purchase products or build inventory at your own pace, and perhaps create your own samples from products you'll be using yourself (within sanitary reason!) so there’s little financial and product waste. Also, find a company who understands it takes time to build your business and customer relationships, and doesn't financially penalize you for this. I'm so thankful to work with an MLM who allows plenty of time to reach realistic sales goals (because life happens!) and puts a huge emphasis on building customer relationships.

 

If you’re strongly thinking about joining, seek out and work with a mentor/upline that you trust.

Ask them TONS of questions! I grilled my mentor for a very long time before I jumped on board. She was very patient and understanding with me! If they aren’t being honest, patient with your concerns, or aren’t being totally transparent; RUN AWAY! In many MLMs, your relationship with your mentor is ongoing as you build your business and seek their mentorship. If they don't respect you, don't take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns, treat you like your questions are stupid or you're an inconvenience, it can make or break your experience with the MLM you choose.

 

Don’t join a company that requires YOU to purchase a minimum order or commit to an auto-shipment every month.

This is a big fat red flag. Purchasing products when you don’t need them is a waste of your money and resources. It’s also a big sign that the company is out to make quick money off their consultants and is not focused on selling their product to a wider audience. This will also drain you of business-building finances quickly; especially if you’re on a tight budget when getting started.

 

Be realistic.

Don’t be fooled by an MLM promising you’ll be making six figures within a year. A small percentage of those in an MLM actually accomplish this. Building a side business (or any business for that matter) takes time and intention. I have fellow SAHMs in my business who’ve achieved six figure incomes in a year, but realistically, most people don't. Yet, plenty of women on my team have done very well and have been bringing in enough to cover their mortgage, utilities, their grocery bill each month, and/or a luxury vacation for their family each year!

As a stay-at-home mom with various life demands and schedules, how we contribute to our side hustles won’t look the same for everyone. Yet, so many of us have found our work very fulfilling, inspiring, and most important: FUN! Whatever path you take, make sure your hustle doesn’t add too much undue stress to your life and is a blessing to you intellectually and financially. If it’s one that requires many little steps spread out over time, you’re consistently moving in the right direction, and aren’t back-peddling, then it may be a good fit for you! One particular reason I love the company and products I promote are the perks I gain as a consultant and the fact that our family would already be using these products anyways; so we’re not double-purchasing things we’re already using! In other words, be savvy and try finding ways to make the hustle work for you, too!

 

And one more thing...... aside from spending time to pray and discern, spend a lot of time discussing the details with your spouse.

Ask them to be honest with you when it comes to the product(s) and whether they can envision you working with this company. After all, they know you better than anyone! For example, have them give you their honest opinion first as your spouse and taking your family's lifestyle into consideration, and then from the viewpoint of a potential customer. Talk about what the demands of growing this particular type of side business would look like in your daily lives and what kind of time you would be able to commit to your hustle. Some business opportunities can become successful with a small startup fee, several weeks to train and build up a client portfolio, and committing to as little as an hour a day (ask me how I know this)! Some need much more time each week, a larger investment upfront, and additional resources to develop. It all depends on what will work for you and what goals you have in mind.

 

Do any of you SAHMs out there have a side hustle? Do you have more questions? Comment with any questions or tips you have for any other moms considering the leap! Please, NO soliciting. Thank you!