When you think of "home sales," six-figure earning Navy wife Jennifer Griswold is not who comes to mind.
If you're not a home sales person yourself, what comes to mind is probably the problems of avoiding your ____ [insert product here] peddling Facebook friends who want you to attend 3,000 parties and buy stuff you don't actually want. If you are selling those items, you are probably thinking of the struggle -- oh the struggle -- of finding ways to make a dime through a business plan it seems like everyone else is already doing.
Jennifer has advice for both of you.
First, you need to know a little bit about Jennifer. An Air Force wife and Air Force academy graduate, she left a great career in the military to stay home with her kids. When she realized she was unhappy not working, she started an interior design business with a friend who also was involved in home sales.
Jennifer saw what her partner was doing. And she decided that she hated home sales, she said. Hated. It.
"I hated everything about the company, I hated that it was parties, I hated that they had a lot of under-educated consultants," she said. "It didn’t have that much value to me."
She learned a lot about what home sales shouldn't be -- and how to be involved in something that seemed canned and pointless. And, she said, she didn't want any part of it.
But when a PCS forced her to sell her part of the design business to her partner and relocate, she once again found herself without work, and asking the same exact question a lot of military spouses ask:
And that's where she was when a friend called her about a skincare home sales business she was starting to work with, Rodan and Fields.
And it dawned on Jennifer that instead of being a joke, home sales, if done correctly, could be the answer to the employment problem super educated, savvy spouses like her were facing.
"My friend called me with this skin care business, which I sort of giggled at -- I never knew one person who was successful in this business. So I didn't just say 'no,' I said 'heck no,'" she said. "But then it dawned on me that I had all these friends who went to the Air Force Academy and had Masters and PhDs ... and then I started looking at the company, and there were no parties, there were no uneducated sellers preying on people. ... and I thought 'what if I could do this for military spouses and make it a totally new version -- make it the smart version?'"
She's now been working in that company for almost five-and-a-half years, she said, and has 5,000 consultants on her team, including 15 people who are also earning six-figures just like she is, some of whom are also military spouses.
So what is her advice for spouses trying to make home sales a viable gig, and those who want nothing to do with it?
For the spouses who want to make it work, she said, the first step is to figure out why you are doing it. Is it for a social reason? Or do you really want to help your family's income and make it pay?
Neither answer is wrong -- but knowing why changes how you handle your business, she said. Learn everything you can about your product, leverage your social media correctly by living your brand without being obnoxious, and never add your friends to a group without their permission, she said.
But her best advice comes for the home sales doubters who are just tired of being asked to buy stuff, and it's in two parts.
First, she said, be open to the idea that your friends who are doing home sales successfully are using the social space the same way other advertisers are. That means not adding you to things without your consent, but still being seen. Social advertising isn't just the way things are going to be going forward -- it's how things are now. And it's probably a good idea to get used to it.
But, more importantly, she said that the best thing you can do for your friends is extend a little grace.
"I think you always need to recognize that there's a reason people are doing what they are doing. You don't always need to participate. I don't like people to think they have to make pity orders," she said. "There's no reason to be dramatic or be hateful if you don't want it. ... I think you just need to opt out of things you want to opt out of. Everybody should have a chance."