If you can’t scroll through your newsfeed without seeing your mom friends’ workout selfies, skin care before and afters, leggings, nail wraps, tote bags, cleaning products, and essential oils, you are not alone. You are friends with a new breed of modern day mompreneurs — a trend that is exploding all over social media.
Network marketing, multi-level marketing, direct selling — there are many new names for it, but the business model has been around for decades. It continues to be a popular choice for moms, allowing the flexibility to stay home with children while making extra income. Most involve becoming a consultant for a company, promoting products to your network, and getting paid commission on whatever you sell. While the model is nothing new, the one thing the Mary Kay and Tupperware ladies of our mothers’ generation did not have was the wide reach of social media networks to expand their business. Modern-day moms can now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and personal blogs to promote a wide variety of products on their own schedule from the comfort of their own home.
I know a little about this trend after temporarily leaving my career to stay home with my children full time. Becoming a consultant for a direct sales company proved to be a great outlet, allowing me to make new connections and keep some sanity while home with kids. While the trend may be positive for some, others feel understandably burned out by invites to online parties selling something they may not need or entrepreneurial opportunities they have no interest in. To me, it all depends on the approach. I love trying recommendations from friends and fully support moms doing this entrepreneurial gig the right way — creatively sharing ideas they feel passionate about, and doing it respectfully.
So, a few tips for those thinking about joining this mompreneur movement:
1. Do your research
When choosing who to partner with, read the fine print. Is there a minimum sales requirement to maintain your company status? Are there up-front costs involved? Speak with active consultants to get a full understanding of the business model.
2. Do what you love
Choose something you are passionate about. If everyone knows you have never exercised a day in your life, it will be difficult for people to accept that you are a suddenly a fitness coach overnight. Stay true to what you love, and that will translate into success.
3. Follow your “why”
Are you looking for a fun hobby or to supplement income for your family? Focus on WHY you want to try a new business and let that guide your decisions.
4. Be genuine
Remain respectful to your network in what you share and how often. Look for creative ways to widen your reach beyond people you know, like networking meetings, vendor events, and advertising. As with any sales gig, avoid being pushy — earn customer respect by sharing ways to make THEIR lives better.
Whether you are a part of this trend or simply contemplating it, there is no question that today’s online landscape has given moms the best opportunity to experiment in new business ventures. For those who don’t want the mompreneur madness in their daily newsfeed, Facebook has conveniently provided the “unfollow” option as a polite decline from the party. Just make sure to give your friend a supportive high-five first — because we are all in the business of encouraging our fellow moms (which goes much further than buying a piece of jewelry, even though we could always use more of that).