From Kindergarten on, I knew precisely what I wanted to be when I grew up: A teacher.
My career preparation started early. As a young girl, I used to study the teachers more than the content, paying closer attention to how they taught than what they taught. I took note of what worked and what didn’t. I carefully analyzed ways they made kids feel special and ways they made kids feel invisible, recording these observations in a little notebook titled, “What to Do and What Not to Do When I’m a Teacher.” I was always watching. Always preparing. I knew, without a doubt, that teaching is what I was made to do.
At 22-years-old, I graduated with honors from the University of Dayton with a degree in Middle Childhood education and walked into my first classroom armed with fresh ideas and a passion for making an impact. I finally had the label I’d wanted for so long: Teacher. And I wore it with pride.
Over the next ten years, I worked tirelessly to be the very best educator I could be, pouring myself into my career and my students. And at the risk of sounding boastful, I was damn good at it. The work was long, and it was hard, but I devoured it hungrily.
At the ten-year mark, however, something shifted, seemingly overnight.
At home, I had a new label: Mother. A label which, like that of “teacher,” I wore with pride. But, as any working mother can attest, it’s hard to be “damn good” at both, simultaneously. When I was giving my all in the classroom, someone at home was short-changed, and vice versa. Something always had to give, but how could I choose when I loved both roles so dearly?
At work, new state mandates were put into place. Mandates which not only increased my work load significantly, but also impacted the quality of education I could provide my students. The creativity and exploration which had once driven my lesson plans were replaced with uniformity and assessment-driven tasks. Instead of discovering my students’ passions, I memorized their data-points. Simply put, the spark in my classroom – and in this teacher’s heart – was fading out.
I loved what I did, but I was beginning to hate what it took. I knew I needed to make a change, but with such a specific degree and no experience outside of education, I felt completely trapped.
Around this time, a respected local entrepreneur began raising eyebrows in my community when she partnered with Drs. Rodan & Fields, the dermatologists who created Proactiv. She was forming launch teams in my area to help the doctors bring their new anti-aging skincare line to the masses. One of my close friends joined her, and I watched, intrigued yet skeptical, for several months.
I had no doubts about the efficacy of the products; the clinical results spoke for themselves. It was clear that these products worked for most people. I was also impressed by the company’s forward-thinking vision to change the face of direct-sales by utilizing “community commerce” – a new method of distribution that relies on leveraging the power of social media and the emerging entrepreneurial economy. Distributors were creating micro-franchises entirely from home–without inventory, deliveries or home-based parties–in hours that fit their needs.
While I was extremely intrigued by the opportunity, I doubted my ability, as a teacher, to be successful as an entrepreneur — an entrepreneur in the sales field, no-less. My husband, however, encouraged me to give it a shot. As a business-owner himself, he saw this as a no-brainer. “There’s a fortune to be made here,” he told me. “Give it two years. Keep teaching, and build your business from home. See what happens. This could be the answer you’ve been looking for.”
So I did. In December, 2013, I took a leap of faith and got going. By utilizing the tremendous training and support provided by the company, I learned everything I needed to know, and my business began to flourish. In June, 2015, I was able to comfortably retire from teaching. Now, less than three years after that “big shift” in my teaching career, I am home with my family, running my business alongside the people and causes that are most important to me. The time and financial freedom we’ve gained is immeasurable. We are able to give more, to travel more, to say “yes” to more. It’s truly a life of options –Nothing has to give.
The best part, however, is that through this opportunity, I am able to coach and mentor my business partners as they work to achieve their dreams. The classroom walls may be gone, but the fulfillment of helping someone succeed still feels just as magical. My spark is back and brighter than ever. I am, and will always be, a teacher. Because that’s what I was made to do.
If my story resonates with you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to give you the facts so you can see if this might be a good fit for you, too. We are currently operational in the U.S. and Canada, and we began our pre-enrollment process in Australia today. Global expansion is set to continue with a new country every year.