Based outside Toronto, Canada, Melissa Barlock is raising her two young children while building a global business from home. After a health challenge put an end to her career in corporate sales, she became a stay-at-home mom but was missing part of her identity. Looking to contribute her gifts beyond her family, she found the perfect vehicle in network marketing.
A week before Melissa got married, her life was suddenly turned upside down when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and epilepsy all in one day.
“I lost my job and my independence,” she says, “and I was faced with a decision: I could let life’s circumstances defeat me, or manifest with positive thoughts.”
Two weeks later, Melissa’s younger sister came down with a rare disease and died within two weeks. Despite all the hardships, over the next year Melissa’s health stabilized and she became pregnant.
“When my son was born,” she says, “I realized how precious life was. I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and put him in daycare.”
Two years later Melissa’s daughter was born. Melissa loved staying home and seeing her children grow up, but she also felt a part of her was missing. She called it her “financial and emotional independence.”
In 2011 Melissa received a thank-you card in the mail from a local friend, who shortly thereafter invited her to an opportunity meeting. Melissa told her she was too busy with a one-year-old and three-year-old, sleep deprived, and couldn’t imagine adding anything to her plate.
She also had been pitched “everything under the sun” and was not interested in “one of those things.” Her friend bribed her and promised they would go for a girls’ night out after the event.
Forever grateful to her friend for making her go to that meeting Melissa says the presentation blew her away. “I saw how for a minimal investment, I could start a business from home that would allow me to work when and with whom I wanted, in the pockets of my time around my kids’ schedules.”
Melissa skipped going out after the event, because she could not wait to get home and tell her husband what she had found.
To her surprise, he was less than amused and asked, “Is it one of those pyramid things?” He told Melissa she could try it, but that she would never make any money at it. Melissa took this as a challenge to prove him wrong.
Having never done anything like this before, she wasn’t sure how to get started. “My sponsor did not have a clue either,” she says. “I was the only person she’d ever sponsored. I simply followed the system and shared my excitement with my friends, many of whom joined as customers.”
Melissa was comfortable showing the product, but had no idea how to share the business opportunity. One day as she was signing up a customer, the lady asked, “What’s this option here?” pointing to the distributor link. “Can I make money with this?”
Melissa explained a few things about the business she was building, and the lady signed up as a distributor.
“This was a defining moment for me,” says Melissa. “I realized it was not up to me to decide who would be good at or who might like this business. My job is simply to show it and educate others, then let them decide. Once I made that shift and started sharing the different options with people, my team started to grow.”
Melissa’s next challenge was finding work/life/children/husband balance. Because of her husband’s initial reaction, she wanted to hide the business from him. “I didn’t want him to see how much I worked,” she says. “I knew I would be scrutinized for putting in so much effort with seemingly little return. I understood this wasn’t the traditional work-once-get-paid-once business model.”
Melissa tried to take care of all her business activities before her husband came home from work, while making sure the kids were happy, the house was clean, and healthy meals were prepared.
“This became exhausting!” she says. “I started to feel resentful. I had to take a stand that this was going to be a part of my life, that I was serious about building this business.’
Once she decided to share her goals and plans with her family, everyone’s life became a lot easier.
“No longer was this my goal, it became our goal,” says Melissa. “Now, my kids join me at meetings and help with set-up. They’ve seen mommy on stage and they also get to pick where they want to go on a trip once a year. They are now a part of the business and feel ownership. It’s remarkable to see them grow up as little entrepreneurs.”
Before Melissa’s children were in school, her goal was to invite one person to look at the business every day. She started rekindling friendships on social media and hosting “mommy playdates” at her house to meet more moms.
“At one point I had at least three mommy/baby coffee & playdates each week,” she says. “I would have a huge coffee urn ready with some snacks, and moms and their kids would come over. We would chat while the kids played.”
Melissa focused on building relationships and introduced the business when the timing was right. Playdates evolved into opportunity meetings with moms and kids. “It was total chaos, but it worked,” she says.
Once her children started attending preschool, Melissa was able to schedule appointments at coffee shops during the day, and began attending local meetups and networking groups.
Today Melissa uses every moment her children are in school to focus on income-producing activities. “Once the kids are home, I put my mommy-hat on,” she says. “It’s homework, dinner, and nighttime routine. Once the kids are off to bed, I do webinars, trainings, prospecting calls, social media activities, and follow-ups. In the pockets of my day, I use text a lot to reach out and follow up with prospects, invite people to events and webinars, and communicate with my team.”
Melissa loves how there are no limits to where she can take her business. “Virtually everyone you meet online or in person has the potential to become your customer or business partner. Some of my team members I met at the grocery store, on airplanes, at the park, at restaurants, at the dental office, accountant’s office, traveling with the family, you name it. This is why you always want to carry yourself in a positive and professional manner. You never know when or where you will meet people who are looking for this opportunity.”
Melissa constantly grows her contact list by attending networking events and meetups. She supports local businesses and distributors from other companies by purchasing their products and services. She regularly volunteers, organizes neighborhood parties, and makes friends with other moms at after-school activities.
To support her team, Melissa hosts weekly live webinars and trainings, as well as quarterly regional events, open to cross-, up-, and downlines.
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“Recognition is huge in this business,” she says. “We are constantly rewarding daily activities through fun team contests and challenges. We cheer everyone on and recognize accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
“Kody Bateman’s books Promptings and MLM Blueprint, Jordan Adler’s Beach Money, and Steve Schulz’s, Yes, Sometimes It Is About the Money have all been cornerstones in my personal development. Each of these network marketing icons have also become close friends and mentors. Vanessa Hunter, VP of marketing and director of the Guts, Grace & Gratitude forum as well as my upline Phebe Trotman have been a constant source of support and inspiration.”
Melissa says this profession has been the biggest gift to herself and her family. She says her vision is to help raise network marketing to the level of professionalism it deserves.
“I envision myself sitting in an audience of thousands, watching my team members walk across the stage as six- and seven-figure and million-dollar earners. Our family vision is to open up schools in South America and provide education to the underprivileged while helping local communities improve their living conditions.”
Melissa currently has teams in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. “People are the same everywhere,” she says. “We all want to be appreciated, loved, and feel our lives have significance. Most people are looking for more time and financial freedom. In network marketing, we have a solution for all of these needs.”