For the Skeptics: My Top 5 Reasons for Staying in a Social Marketing Business

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“That’s a lot for a pair of leggings.”
“I’ll just grab the wax melts from Walmart.”
“That much for a wrap?? I’ve got Saran wrap and lotion.”
“Gummy vitamins work just fine.”
“Who pays that kind of money for mascara?”
“I heard you can drink apple cider vinegar to lose weight.”
“I can find affordable jewelry at TJ Maxx.”
“Pink drink? I take gummy vitamins, I’m good!”
“I don’t need fancy cookware, I just buy the cheap stuff.”
“People are crazy for spending that much on shampoo.”
“Skincare is skincare. Whatever works!”

I’ve heard all of those things. Heck, I’ve said all of those things. I will be the first to admit: I absolutely never, ever, EVER thought I would be part of a social marketing company. I made fun of people in them and thought they were naive and annoying. If you read the first post I wrote when I started with my company, you know that already. But I wanted to share a little bit more about what I do, because I think people need to know why my perspective on this industry changed. I’ve spent too much time worrying what others think, and I’ve finally decided to quit worrying and just do my thing.

For years, I have watched people do all kinds of things to provide for their families. White-collar jobs, blue-collar jobs, chopping firewood, selling produce, flipping houses, trading guns, breeding dogs, selling handmade goods on Etsy, baking desserts, opening boutiques, taking photos, running salons, freelance writing, blogging, cleaning houses – the list goes on and on and on. And the most amazing thing is, friends of these entrepreneurs can’t wait to show their support. They share their social media posts, visit their businesses often, spend money on their products or services, and encourage others to do the same. It’s beautiful!

But what if that same person decided to to join a social marketing company?

Few likes.
No shares.
Little to no support.
Snarky comments, eye rolling, smirking, and pity.

Whyyyyyy??? 

This seems like a total double standard to me. Why are we so quick to cheer for our friend opening a new brick-and-mortar clothing store, but when another friend joins a social marketing company and chooses to start sharing the clothes she already wears and loves, we unfollow her on Facebook and start avoiding conversations with her? Where is the disconnect??

I know what part of the problem is. It’s *those* people. You know the ones – the ones who stalk you. The ones who make every conversation about their products or business opportunity. The ones who, although you are complete strangers, add you to their groups without asking first and send you awkward, pushy messages about why you should join their team or buy product from them.

Listen, I GET IT. Those people are the worst. I know, because I’ve been one of those people. I made so many mistakes in the beginning of my own social marketing journey, and if you are one of the people who I offended or frustrated, I am so incredibly sorry. People like that represent the industry poorly, and that’s exactly why I had such a bad taste in my mouth about it for such a long time. But now, after being part of one for a few years, I finally understand that not everybody is like that. Not everybody sees you as nothing more than another prospect. And it’s silly to villainize an entire industry just because a few people aren’t doing it right.

Here’s why I’ve stayed WITH MONAT.

1. I got to start my own “business” without going bankrupt. I’ve always had a tiny entrepreneurial streak, but the thought of starting a business from the ground up was intimidating. When I became part of MONAT, literally everything was done for me. Marketing, my own website, a Customer Support team, training materials, manufacturing, shipping, samples, full-size products – everything I needed was right at my fingertips, and I didn’t have to create any of it myself. It would take tens of thousands of dollars to do all of that if I was starting my own business elsewhere, and it would take a long time to start actually seeing a profit. With MONAT, I made my startup cost back, plus more, in less than two months. I don’t have to keep inventory; I don’t have to make anything by hand; I don’t have to package and ship anything; I don’t have to pay employees. Nearly all of my work takes place online or on the phone. It’s honestly perfect.

2. I would use the products even if I didn’t sell them. I wish so badly that I had taken more “before” pictures. But truthfully, no picture can tell you how healthy my hair is now. It is as shiny as a new penny, it feels weightless and luxuriously soft, and there are so many hair woes that I don’t have to deal with anymore, like dandruff, acne on my hairline, split ends, getting oily quickly, and frizz. I’ve gone back and used multiple other brands several times, including expensive salon brands, just to make sure I hadn’t talked myself into liking MONAT more because I sold it. But every single time, my old hair problems started to come back, and I felt like my hair was coated with product and weighed down by it. After the third or fourth time, I finally decided it’s just not worth trying anything else, because nothing else works as well.

3. My income has paid for some seriously epic stuff. Because of MONAT, Daniel and I got to fly one of our wedding photographers to meet us at Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska and take anniversary pictures. I mean….seriously?? We never could have done that if not for my extra income, and I will cherish those pictures forever. I’ve also been able to randomly treat myself and buy things I would normally feel guilty spending money on, like Steve Madden boots. I got to take one of my best friends on a little shopping spree, just because. And I even earned a free trip to Las Vegas and got to take Daniel with me!

4. I love the flexibility. With any other business, if you’re not open, you’re not earning. But with MONAT, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing or not doing; I am literally always earning residual income. Shampoo and conditioner are consumable products, which means you eventually run out and need more, which means I earn income from my client base every month because someone always needs more. The other great thing is that this gig can be as big or as small as I want it to be. I know people who joined simply to have the product discount, and I know other people who have quit their own full-time jobs AND retired their husbands because of how much income they are bringing in.

5. The “before and after” stories are one of the best parts. Getting texts from friends with before-and-after pictures and excited messages about how good their hair feels is SO special to me. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear their stories, and to see the results other people have had on social media. Hair is such a huge part of our self-esteem, for women and men alike, and it is an honor to have helped so many people fall in love with their hair again. Hands down, it’s one of the best parts about what I do!


I still forget sometimes that I’m in social marketing. And honestly, I think it’s because I don’t feel like a salesman. Seriously, I don’t. Sharing shampoo is exactly the same as telling a friend about your new favorite restaurant or the great movie you saw last weekend. People recommend good things every single day. The only difference is that some of us actually get paid for it.

Social marketing was never for me until I found MY company, until I found something that became a permanent life change. At the end of the day, everyone you know – including someone in a social marketing business – is just trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and their futures. That’s all. People choose all kinds of ways to make and save money. And maybe, just maybe, social marketing might be for you too!

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Shout out to my friend Cassidy for inspiring this post! ♥

Adulting: Not What I Expected

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Adulthood is different than I thought it would be.

I don’t know where I got this idea, but I think I assumed for a long time that, the older you get, the less mistakes you make. The less awkward you are. The less times you need to apologize and make things right again. Less fighting. Less soul-searching. Less anxiety. Less, less, less.

I guess that kind of thinking would make sense to a kid: more years of experience should naturally lead to you becoming better at *fill in the blank* over time, right? And yet time and time again, I find myself in some of the same places I was as a teenager:

Overwhelmed.
Unsure.
Embarrassed.
Indecisive.
Emotional.
Self-conscious.
Making the same mistakes over and over.

I have a theory, though.

I’m discovering that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean making less mistakes or feeling confident all the time. Maybe genuine maturity is marked more by your reaction time to whatever is happening. And the proof is all over the place.

Example #1: Marriage will teach you really quickly how awful of a person you are and how much you have to learn about true reconciliation. In 6 years of married life, it’s not that we’ve gotten better at not sinning – we’re still really good at sinning. We’ve just gotten quicker at apologizing and forgiving.

Example #2: I used to sit and stew for hours (or even days) if I made an embarrassing public mistake or had one of those moments where you say something dumb and instantly regret it. But now, I give myself a few pity minutes, chalk it up to being an imperfect human and not a robot, apologize if necessary, and move on with my life.

Example #3: When I was in high school and even into my college years, I was the queen of self-condemnation when it came to my spiritual life. If I went a week without spending time in the Word, I felt like I had to read 7 times as much to “catch up” to where I was “supposed to be.” You know what’s great though? God just wants us to know Him. Yes, reading the Bible and talking with Him daily should be more than a goal; it’s essential. But He isn’t standing there with a clipboard giving us demerits for falling asleep in the middle of reading Proverbs. I’m learning not to beat myself over the head with guilt, because I know that God isn’t.

Maybe adulthood is just owning it. Owning all of it – the good and the bad decisions and outcomes. It means finally learning to truly like yourself. It means allowing yourself to feel a healthy sense of pride and joy in a big accomplishment, rather than being self-deprecating and minimizing your hard work. It means being content in your current season of life, rather than spending all your time wishing you were in another one. It means you stop always shifting blame to other people and playing the victim. It means you take responsibility when you are a terrible human being, admit it and confess it to the Lord, and move forward in His forgiveness. It means that when bad things happen to you, in or out of your control, you spend less time complaining and more time praying.

But mostly? I think adulthood means becoming okay with being imperfect.

You see, we know in our minds that we will never be perfect. We know that. We’ve heard it and said it a thousand times, to others and to ourselves. But deep down, we still expect to be. And we HATE being reminded that we aren’t. Every flaw, every slip-up, every lapse in judgement is followed by the snide, mocking voice of our enemy whispering “Failure” in our desperately weary ears.

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

BECAUSE BEING AN ADULT IS HARD.

Even if you’ve been one for decades and you’ve settled into a routine, that doesn’t make it any less hard. You’re just used to it being hard. But for newbies, it’s overwhelming.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be/look/feel a certain way already, and then, on top of our own self-doubt and self-hate, we get 500 pounds of cultural expectations dumped on us too. You’re supposed to be able to cook, clean, deep condition your hair, keep plants alive, be a sexy beast but not act overly proud about it, budget, eat organic, go to doctor’s appointments, drink enough water, keep up with laundry, give to the needy, actually put dishes in the dishwasher instead of letting them “soak,” read for pleasure, vote, get rid of your cellulite, call your parents, spend time with Jesus, say no to french fries drugs, take care of your skin, keep track of all the chemicals in your house that are killing you, be a good friend, eat other veggies besides potatoes, remember birthdays and anniversaries, take your vitamins, shave your legs, figure out how to fold fitted sheets, and give 110% at work AND home AND church AND the gym AND your high school reunions. And that’s not even counting all the stuff you have to add when you have children. There are countless, constant reminders of how much we fall short.

But there’s some good news, friend.

As followers of Jesus, we are made NEW. Meaning, we will be aware that we fall short, but we don’t have to hold on to that fact. We can accept it and let it go. We weren’t made new so that we could turn around and keep beating ourselves up about our failures every day for the rest of our lives. Do you realize that every mistake you make is literally in the past the second it’s over? When we accept the Gospel’s glorious good news, we are washed clean! We don’t have to try to be perfect anymore and keep it all together. When we are saved by Jesus, we don’t have to try to be holy; we ARE holy. Spiritual maturity is peacefully and willingly accepting imperfection on Earth, knowing that Jesus was perfect for us.

It doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But the more you focus on what God has done for you and the less you focus on yourself and all the ways you aren’t measuring up, slowly but surely, you’ll see the scale start tipping away from anxious inadequacy and toward calm acceptance. You can feel alllllll of those awkward, insecure teenager feelings as an adult sometimes and still tip the scale. I am! I’m starting to feel more comfortable in this season of life and in my own skin than I ever have before. (Apparently that happens when you get closer to your 30’s?) I’m learning to make peace with myself the way I am and find the balance between self-condemnation and apathy. I genuinely like where I am right now, in marriage, at work, and in our church community. And that feels really, really good. ♥

Small Biz Spotlight: Savannah Ashley Photography

This post is truly, honestly, ridiculously overdue. Savannah actually took these pictures two and a half years ago, and while I lovvvved looking at them and seeing her ‘styled shoot’ blog post, I had weird feelings about sharing them myself. I have no qualms about sharing photos of me WITH other people, but posting a photo shoot that’s literally just me felt…I don’t know. Awkward. But I finally decided to share them, because I want to introduce a new segment on the blog: Small Biz Spotlight! It’s not something I’ll do every month or anything. But as a small business owner myself, I know the struggles associated with running your own shenanigans, especially when it comes to marketing and building rapport. And I want to do whatever I can to be an advocate for other people like me.

Savannah Bidwell is the (gorgeous!) face behind Savannah Ashley Photography. I got connected with her through her husband, Andrew, who I met at a high school summer camp almost a decade ago. Before this shoot, Savannah and I had been social media friends for years but never actually met in person. When we finally met each other, she fully exceeded my expectations, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that she is one of the friendliest, funniest, most endearing people I’ve ever met! I had wanted to be friends with her for such a long time, and I had a blast participating in her styled shoot, even though it was January and insanely cold (literally the wind chill was like -14 degrees). When I decided to start this new series, I knew she’d be the perfect person to start with. Thanks for letting me interview you, Savannah!


Embracing the Chaos: So what was it that made you decide to become a photographer?
Savannah: “I always did want to be a photographer but I’m also a very practical person (little known fact) and I didn’t think it was practical or really possible to make a living that way. It didn’t dawn on me until after college that weddings were a totally valid option.”

ETC: What training/resources/etc. did you use to get started?
S: “What didn’t I use when I got started is really the question. I had a fair amount of shooting skill earlier on because I had picked it up in the past, but it was very basic. I started off making sure I understood my little starter camera through and through. I read all the manuals associated with it and YouYubed its features and practiced with it as much as I could. There is a resource called Creative Live, which airs all sorts of creative related educational live-stream videos, and I watched everything that I could that was relevant to me. I started with basics and fundamentals of shooting and lighting, and then moved on to working with people and posing, and then moved on to whole 30-day wedding photography classes, which threw in a lot of business information too (which was like drinking out of a fire hose). But I still learned a lot. Facebook was also super important and pretty much why I’m ALWAYS ON IT. I’m in DOZENS of photography-specific groups where people just talk shop and by absorbing that information, I actually learned a LOT of practical hands-on material. I messed around taking more and more self portraits, and before I knew it, other photographers saw them and asked if I could accompany them on their weddings as an assistant/second shooter. That’s where I learned the most and made a lot of connections.”

ETC: Work-wise, do you consider your business a full-time or part-time gig?
S: “Business was a weird, slow, dip-your-toe-in start for me in Washington State. Just as I had started to get it going, I got sick, and then we moved not terribly long after that so it was a weird year and a weird start. I like to say it became more official when we moved to North Carolina over a year ago. It’s pretty full-time now, but it started off last year more as a part-time thing. Now I take on my own weddings and elopements, allow other photographers to contract me out for assisting when I can, and I also do outsourcing work for other photographers as well (which is just when they send me their unedited wedding work and I process/edit it for them). And I occasionally freelance for local publications, or do e-commerce shooting for retail businesses.”

ETC: Where does your inspiration come from as an artist?
S: “Literally everything. I have a hard time focusing because I’m constantly inspired by upwards of 90% of what I’m seeing.”

ETC: What do you enjoy most about working as a photographer?
S: “SO MANY THINGS. I like being my own boss, which is great sometimes and really stressful other times, but ultimately I like to make the rules. I’m a functional introvert, which means I like to be left alone most of the time but I can totally fake being extroverted when I need to. So I get to be outgoing on wedding days and call all the shots and manage people BUT after that, I can retreat for a week and work at my computer with my cats. My life with my husband is a little different, so the fact that I can take work with me is really important and necessary for our weird lifestyle. Creative problem-solving is my jam, which is pretty much what wedding photography is. And I really, really love people. I love getting to be a part of other people’s lives and telling their story visually. I love giving people something beautiful and tangible to remember their wedding day by. And wedding food. Duh.”

ETC: What are the top 3 things you would tell an aspiring professional photographer?
S: “Join all the photography groups and soak up the information. Ask all of the questions. YouTube is your best friend. You don’t need to go to school for this, but if you do, skip the photography part (you can learn that all on the internet and with practice) and get a business degree.”

ETC: And finally, most importantly….pancakes or waffles?
S: “Waffles. But I’d actually rather just have crepes.”


And now that you’ve heard a little about her, here’s a look at her work!!

You can see lots more of her talented goodness over on her website. Thanks again, Savannah, for being part of my new series! ♥