Sunday, July 21, 2013

OPERATION: Create Your Own Path

Military Spouse.

When you hear the title, you think the pride and happiness that they must feel when they see their soldier in uniform. You may think of all of the amazing (and not so amazing places) that she has lived and traveled. You may also wonder what the emotions are like when their spouse is deployed or away for extended periods of time.

What you may not know is that many spouses struggle with finding careers that are portable (*waves hands WAY HIGH in the air!).

A portable career is one that will travel with them wherever they go as they follow their spouse all over the world.

There are many military spouses out there who have created and developed their own business, they have created their own path, and they are successful.

The people at the Red, White and Blue Pages have created a new series called OPERATION: Create Your Own Path. For an entire month, they are featuring 30 military spouse business owners have created their own path by starting a small business.

I was able to interview Jamie H. Muskopf with AdvoCare Team Sparks and Stripes.

1. Why did you decide to go into business for yourself? 

After I graduated from college, I took a job at the UC Santa Barbara Women's Center. I was their office manager just around the time that the university was creating this 'new' thing called a Web site. My department was required to create a Web site for itself and I was sent to UCSB Extension to learn how to be a webmaster and use Photoshop. After a year of experimenting and learning how to code and create images, I started my own web design business and that's when I fell in love with entrepreneurship.  I always wanted in my heart of hearts to strike out on my own, but circumstances required that I keep my day job. My day job eventually turned into a career in IT in Higher Education and then in Knowledge Management for the Department of the Navy and I absolutely loved it. When I married my husband, we decided that it would be best, given the requirements of his career, that I stay home with our children and leave my career which at this point came with a six figure salary. I left happily, though, knowing that this was the right thing for my family and that this was the perfect opportunity for me to become a full time entrepreneur.

2. What made you choose AdvoCare?

After giving birth to my second son at age 35 I made the decision to change my health. I started training myself how to run for the first time in my life (something I never thought I'd do - EVER) with the goal of being more fit and capable of keeping up with my child.  Though I made some progress after my son was born, I was stuck in a plateau. That's when I called my friend Terry, who had tried to introduce me to AdvoCare while I was pregnant, and asked him what that AdvoCare thing was again (Terry and his wife Debbie had lost almost 200 pounds together using AdvoCare products, I had about 30 pounds to lose at the time, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Once I tried the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, I was hooked. I felt amazing energy, I started to get leaner. I became an Advisor level distributor because I was so impressed with the effectiveness and quality of AdvoCare products and then I attended AdvoCare Success School in Dallas, Texas.  There I learned more about the company that is AdvoCare and I connected with their corporate values. I loved how they treated and trained their distributors, and I saw amazing potential in their success system and unusually generous compensation plan (I'd been a distributor for other direct sales companies before but none where you stood to make 40% off of retail sales straight out the gate!)  And then I got pregnant with my daughter. I stopped taking most AdvoCare products with caffeine. Once she was born (I was 37), and I was cleared by my doctor to exercise, I started running again and decided to take the Can You 24 72 Day Challenge. I lost more than 15" all over my body and most importantly lost 20 pounds extra that I had been carrying around since freshman year of high school. I have gone from a size 12-14 to a size 6-8 and am spending the rest of this year working my way down to a toned physique and what I hope will be a size 4-6. I wanted to help others get this kind of success and AdvoCare was the best way I saw to do that.

3. What is the best part about your business?

I know what it feels like to be miserable with yourself - with your body, how you look, low on energy. I'd been there most of my adult life. Though I'd had professional success, I felt like a failure when it came to my health. What I LOVE about my business is being able to connect with people with that same struggle and offer them a customizable, healthy solution.  There is so much more to weight loss and improving fitness than what you put in your body and I love being able to help people who want to be supported through what can be a very emotional journey. I love being able to offer them the highest quality nutritional supplements on the market today and I love teaching them about the business as well.  One of the things that motivated me to lose weight and motivates me to keep it off is my AdvoCare business. I want to be the best me possible with AdvoCare and I get to help others who want to do the same thing!

4. What is the hardest?

The hardest part of being a stay at home mom and a business owner has to be balancing life at home with 3 kids and doing what you need to do in order to grow your business. Unlike an office job where you report to someone who makes sure you're achieving your objectives, the only person you report to is YOU. To be successful, you have to be organized and "work" your business every single day. Getting those calls, meetings and emails in around my family's schedule can be tough!

5. What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome so far?

My husband recently deployed. It's a first deployment for both of us and though he thinks he doesn't play a significant roll in our business, he absolutely does! His moral support, his ability to share AdvoCare genuinely with others (he's a submariner and LIVES on AdvoCare Spark for energy and mental focus), and his simply being around keeps me motivated and focused on my purpose, which is to earn income for my family so I do not have to return to an office, and to help other military families change their health and their wealth with AdvoCare!

6. What is the best advice you can offer someone who is just starting out on their own?

My best advice to someone just starting in direct sales is to stick with your company's success system and don't to reinvent the wheel.  Zig Ziglar said "There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs." and trying to shortcut the process that leads to success doesn't make sense.  I also believe it is important to know your purpose and use it to keep you moving forward even on days when you feel like giving up.  It will keep you operating from a genuine place of giving and service and that's so important.  Putting others goals before your own can be hard, but if you remember you're there to help them achieve something chances are they'll help you right back!

7. What has been your most rewarding experience?  

Seeing so many of my friends and family find success with the right state of mind, the right eating and exercise habits and AdvoCare supplements.  After giving him a 24 Day Challenge, my own Dad quit smoking, lose 40 pounds and went from a size 38 to a 32 waist.  My wonderful childhood friend Michelle who was featured just a few days ago on an Operation: Create Your Own Path blog has lost at least 20 pounds while using AdvoCare products and is aiming for more. There are story after story like this and I am so proud of every person who has had the courage to make real changes to their lifestyle in order to be healthier.  Seeing moms and dads be outdoors, feeling great, playing with their kids and also seeing athletes and military members meet their performance goals while using AdvoCare products makes it so rewarding and satisfying and I love that I OWN a business where I can help others be their very best selves while I work on my own fitness journey as well.

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