Terri Wood hadn’t the slightest idea how her life would change when she agreed to accompany he friend Dawn to a home party in December of 2001. There was a huge snow storm that night in the little town of Truckee, California; she and Dawn were the only two who showed up—and she was stunned.

“I had never seen such an elaborate display of Christmas items. It must have taken her forever to set it all up! It was beautiful.”

The host, Lesley Stevenson, told the two women how much she loved working with this company, meeting new people and helping them.

“She spent the whole evening pampering us,” recalls Terri. Having made it clear that she couldn’t afford to buy anything, Terri now dug through her purse for the change to buy a single bottle of nail polish.

“We laugh about that now, because here I am, working a business and loving it. It shows that you can’t prejudge people!”

Terri went home, thought about it…and realized she loved the whole idea. She and her pastor husband Pete had moved around quite a bit pastoring various churches, and Terri had home-schooled their three kids, Matthew, Amanda and Gracie (17, 15 and 11, respectively).

Between church groups and home school groups, that was her social life.

“I was really longing to find some other avenue where I could reach out and meet new people.”

She called Lesley, told her she loved the products, and asked if there were some way she could work for her to pay down the bill for the things she wanted.

“I had no idea how this worked!” she laughs. “I didn’t know you could earn commissions.”
Lesley explained how they could book a party for her, and that she could put whatever she made that night back into her business.

“At my first party, when someone wanted to sign up, I didn’t know what to do. I took her name and number and said, ‘I’ll have to call you tomorrow when I figure out how to do this.’ My sales were about $1600 and I got three bookings. Pete was stunned. So was I.”

 

From Hobby to Business

Terri’s business flourished, and she loved it. However, by the time the Wood family moved to Reno in 2004, her business had arrived at a plateau.

“I was passively working my business, taking reorders and making casual contacts, but I wasn’t pursuing it wholeheartedly. Life kept me busy, and my business had settled into its own comfortable rhythm.”

She was earning decent money in overrides, but still, she knew they could use a little more. And she hankered to try something new.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I go check out the traditional job market?’ ”

Terri had a degree in business and had worked as a professional secretary and college administrator—but that had been many years past. Now, nearly two decades later, the idea of working in a 9 to 5 job and coming home at dinner time “like a regular mom” was oddly intriguing.

“I thought working at the makeup counter in a nice department store like Macy’s or Nordstrom’s would be fun. I’ve never been one to fit in the box, so I don’t know why I started thinking this. Perhaps I just had to try it and see what it was like.”

So she stuck her toe in the water of “normal”—and found out just how cold that water can be.

“I went to several interviews—and I was shocked. First they all told me, ‘You know, you’re really not marketable.’ I’d been out of the traditional work force for 17 years, so I expected that. But then we got to how much the job paid. Here we were, at one of the top stores in Reno, and they were talking about starting at six dollars an hour!

“I burst out laughing. The lady interviewing me said, ‘What’s so funny?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry. I think I’m going down a rabbit trail here. I own my own business, and I can make sixty dollars an hour and more if I want to.’

“And I realized, that was the thing: I just had to want to.”

It was an eye-opening experience. Terri thought about the managers in her organization who were flying in their businesses and enjoying every minute of it, the ones telling stories at the meetings, and realized she wanted to get back to that place of enthusiasm herself.

As Terri’s Field Development Manager, Judy, told her, “It’s just timing, Terri. You’re ready to turn a corner. You’re ready to make it a business instead of a hobby.”

“And that’s exactly what it was,” says Terri.

 

Clarity of Purpose

Getting reinvigorated about her business also meant clarifying her purpose.

“That’s how this business works. Whether it’s loving and serving other people, or keeping your family out of bankruptcy, or whatever it is, you need to have a clear purpose—and then drive your business through that purpose. If it doesn’t fit into that goal, then throw it out the window.”

For Terri, that purpose is about meeting other people’s needs: that comes first and foremost.

“At one of my very first parties, one lady stayed behind. I assumed she just didn’t want to drive home by herself, and I thought, That’s fine, we’ll just hang out here for a while and I’ll even drive her home. After everyone else was gone, I learned that her husband had left her and she had only a few friends: she just wanted to talk.

“She has never forgotten that evening. We still write to each other. She has never bought a single product from me, ever—but we have a connection. From the very beginning, I realized there’s something more here than putting products on your skin. It’s about pouring from your heart and touching people’s lives.”