Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Text Changes My Life

I'm excited.

I have spent years building something one tiny step at a time. It started with my Etsy jewelry business, then this blog, then Crying Out Now, then The Bubble Hour, then Two Little Birds Studio.

So, I'm busy.

But I don't notice. I'm so passionate about all these endeavors - the art of creating is my meditation, my escape, and it fuels my soul.  Breaking down the stigma of alcoholism, particularly as it relates to women, bit by bit, gives me a sense of purposeful determination.   I do all of these things because I love them, and I have always followed the adage "do what you love and the money will follow".

There's a hitch, though. My Heart Projects are so interwoven into my life I can't imagine life without them - they are almost like children to me. They have brought so many incredible people into my life, such amazing community, that I could never put a price on what they mean to me.  I'm rich with friendship.  In the friendship category, I'm a badzillionaire, and I know how lucky I am.  But they don't make money.

My jewelry business has far surpassed anything I could have imagined, but in order to grow that business I would have to have a massive paradigm change: hire people to work for me, open a retail store, slog around to home parties - something - if that business is going to contribute meaningfully to our household income.  I like it the way it is, though.  It's mine, it's from my heart, and I don't want to change it. And I don't want to stop making jewelry.

Shining Strong - the umbrella organization for all my recovery sites - is coming along. I'm incorporating it as a non-profit, and hope to get 501(c)3 status by the end of the year.  It's my dream to have that be a self-sustaining organization, its mission is to break down the darkness and denial that surrounds addiction, and it's growing by leaps and bounds, in large part thanks to you - my readers - who help by spreading the word and donating. THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for all your tweets, posts and donations.  Because of you Shining Strong will live another six months.

But it was never supposed to make money, either.

I found myself in a quandary.  My jewelry business has peaked - I work hard at this business because I LOVE it, but it's not going to be a major financial contributor to our income unless I make major changes I'm not willing to make.  My recovery projects fuel me, give me purpose and community - but they are never going to be money makers, either.

My kids are in school full time, and my days are full.  BUT. And this is a big one - I need to earn more money. I did my taxes recently, and was so depressed to see how little I'm actually earning with the jewelry.  I work way too hard to make that little, I thought.  But it was never about money, was my next immediate thought. A pause, and then reality crashed through:  but now it needs to be. You can't continue like this. 

I was really down, because I was fearful I was going to have to give some, or all, of these projects up and get a "real" job.

I don't even know how to have a 'real' job anymore, because I've spent so much time being purpose driven.  I'm smart. I know if I applied myself I could go back to the corporate world, where I logged so many hours in my previous life. I'm good at it. I made a lot of money doing it.  I was miserable.

I was mulling all this over on my way to yoga last week, when my phone beeped with a text. It was my friend, Jen, who I was supposed to meet for coffee that morning but somehow never got into my calendar.  I drove into a Target parking lot and thought hard. I knew why she wanted to meet with me - she is an Arbonne consultant and I knew she wanted to ask me to sign on (officially - I'd been an unofficial consultant for months just to get the products at the consultant's discount) to sell Arbonne.

I stared at the text for a solid minute, and had my thumb hovering over the keys to tell her I couldn't meet her because I had yoga.  I don't have time to sell Arbonne, I thought. Even though I adore the product, I just don't have the time.  We had already rescheduled our coffee date three times, and I was starting to text sorry, can't make it, yoga ... when something stirred in my gut.

GO, that something said.

So I typed "on my way" instead, pulled out of the Target parking lot and went left to coffee instead of right to yoga.

That one little decision has already changed my life, and it was only one week ago.

I love it when the universe chucks you one, burrows down into your gut and whispers: stay open.

Over that two hour coffee date Jen explained all the reasons Arbonne does fit, for me.  It is a natural extension of what I'm already all about: self-care, building businesses, interacting with people, sharing things that have changed me for the better because I believe in them.  Not because I want to make money.

"I can't sell something just to make money," I told her. She smiled. That's okay, she said. Do as little or as much as you want. You're already telling everyone you know about Arbonne, why not make it official?

"I won't do parties," I said.

She smiled again.  That's okay, too.  Find whatever way works for you.

"I'm not sales-y," I said.   Thank goodness, was her reply.  You can't cram anything down someone's throat. Just keep doing what you're doing - tell your story, about how it's changed your skin, your health, and see what happens.

"I don't have time," I said.  Well, why not give it a try? she said. If it doesn't work out you can stay a consultant and get your favorite product at a discount. What do you have to lose? 

As I drove home from our coffee date I thought about what Jen said and the Universe's message to me:  stay open. And, while the Universe was on a roll, it said: what's wrong with making money? It will allow you to keep your Heart Projects going, and then some.

So here I am, writing about it, because since that coffee date I feel alive again. I've already earned more in this week than I usually do in a month of jewelry making, and I haven't had to sell anyone anything. Jen was right - I'm out there talking about it anyway, and people are interested in what I've learned.  I'm a story teller, not a salesperson, and that's totally okay. More than okay.

Arbonne rolls right into everything I've been building.  Cancer taught me so much about the scary chemicals we put on our faces bodies every day in make-up and skin care products.  I shudder to think of what my kids had been putting on their bodies. There are so many known carcinogens out there in everything we use, and the public doesn't hear enough about it.  In Europe the standards are MUCH more stringent. It makes me mad.

Because we're so uneducated about this stuff, we don't give these chemicals a moment's thought. I think about the gallons of lipstick (I've always been mad for lipstick) I have ingested over the years. And I ended up with cancer in my throat.  Even if they aren't causally related - I'll never know - I've changed our lifestyle - no more aluminum, no more sodium lauryl sulfate in this household (SLS is known to be one of the most dangerous chemicals in health care products and it's everywhere).  No more anything harsh or harmful.

Most importantly?  Being healthy and taking care of my skin and body makes me feel good.  I have spent years writing about how women struggle with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love -- and how these issues feed addiction like gasoline feeds a fire.   Learning to put myself first was a years-long battle.  Arbonne fits right into that - I look better, I feel great, and I want to tell people that they deserve this.

The upside earning potential in Arbonne is mind-blowing. I don't know if I'll get that far. I'm not really thinking about it.  Just like with everything else, I'm taking it one step at a time.

And I'm writing about it. This won't become a "please buy Arbonne website".  I won't peddle product here.  But I may write about how it's changing my life, now and again.  If this much can happen in one week, it makes me very excited for the future.

And I gotta say  it - if you want to learn more?  Email me at  I won't sales you to death. I won't pressure you to do a thing.

I'll just share my story, like I always do.


  1. That's fantastic Ellie... You lead from your heart in everything you do and have been such an inspiration to me since I have been following your blogs and passion for everything you do. And why not have gobs of money because it means gobs of freedom. It's simply more energy to exchange and share. Just by posting this, you have inspired me to get the ball rolling on something I have been sitting on for quite some time now, so thank you. Taxes are an eye opener for sure. Just finishing mine and the realization hit me square between the eyes too. Working like a fiend in my own business doing mostly what I love but it's costing me. In other words, making no money therefore no freedom. Time to change. Thanks my friend.

  2. I love Arbonne products. Go you!

  3. Much luck on your newest endeavor! I've heard nothing but awesome things about Arbonne, I'm sure you won't have any problems gathering a bit of interest from your readers. You are one busy lady! ;)