July 25, 2011

Interview with Staci Gerardi!

Staci is an Arbonne rep and Blogger.  She has quite a lot of inspirational advice - Read on and check her out!

What is your name? My name is Staci .

What is your company name, website, FB page name, twitter name and anything else you use?
The company I started my own business with is Arbonne International. My website is www.stacigerardi.myarbonne.com.

I also consider my blog my business, as it generates an income – granted not a huge income, but it brings me some income. I write my blog because I love to write and I love to share. Opening my Arbonne business allows me the freedom to still write my blog, without having to worry about it making me money so I can stay home with my kids.

You can find my blog at www.novembersunflower.com. I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NovemberSunflower. I’m also on Twitter, my handle is @novsunflower.

Are you a SAHM?  Tell us about you (mini-bio!)
I’m totally a Stay At Home Mom, but also a Work At Home Mom. However, we don’t have to be HOME for me to work! That’s the beauty of my business. I’m working without “working”. When I’m out at the park, the beach or taking a walk with my kids I’m always connected through texting and web through my phone. My team is always able to get to me and we can get work done QUICKLY so I can get back to my life with my kids. But the part that I call “work” is talking about and sharing Arbonne. I use the products, I have been using them since 2006 when I found Clear Advantage while pregnant with my daughter. Now my entire family uses the products. People ask me what I use on my face, my hair and how I have such soft feet. I tell them “Arbonne”.  How do you get your daughter’s hair to look like that? My answer: Arbonne.

Personally, your blog is the reason that I started blogging. My husband showed me your blog, it was the first time I ever looked at a blog, and I was hooked. (**side note** My husband and Staci went to high school together and until I saw the November Sunflower blog listed on her interview, I didn't know it was her!!)  Living on Long Island and seeing another Long Island Momma finding great deals sparked something in me.  How long have you been running the blog?
I started my blog in March of 2009. My son was born in 2008 and we were
living even more frugally than before without me working outside the home.
Everyone would ask me how I found such great bargains, how I was able to
make money shopping with cash rebate websites and a bunch of other
questions. I decided to just put it all in one location: A Blog!

You mentioned that you went to school for journalism but it didn't sound like you completed it.  How long did it last and what did you take from it?
 I have my degree in journalism. I got my Associates at Suffolk in a
year, then did my BA at Hofstra in two years. What I realized with
journalism: It's not a business I want to be in, since most of it is all
negative. There's very few stories you get to do that are uplifting and I
also didn't want the lifestyle.

What is the meaning of the title of your blog?
My blog title......it's very special to me, even though it doesn't have
any notation that I'm a frugal blog. My children are both November babies
and I love Sunflowers. That's how November Sunflower was born. To loop the
frugal into it after I purchased the domain name and decided to do a frugal
blog, I came up with Frugal Blooms on Long Island. Why? Because it tied in
the frugal aspect, sunflowers have to bloom and I do a LOT of stuff for
Long Island. Many things can work outside of Long Island, but most of my
free activities are for Long Island. Tons of free outdoor movies,
festivals, fairs, concerts and all around good Long Island FUN! My main
audience is Long Island, but I've got readers in Australia (probably most
of my family out there), India and other countries. And that makes it all
worth it!!!!

How did you find yourself getting started with your business/venture?
My friend, Jill, came over for lunch one afternoon after we reconnected on Facebook. We chatted, caught up on my life, she checked out my wedding album and I told her about my blog, etc.

When the conversation turned to her, I asked her what she was doing with herself. She pulled up in a white Mercedes Benz, so I knew she had to be doing something. However, she was free for lunch in the middle of the day. This intrigued me!
Her answer: Arbonne. When I heard that, I totally shut down. She had no idea, but I had done Tupperware, also Network Marketing. I’d done very well, but wasn’t interested in working that hard to make money!
But she didn’t let me shut down completely. Jill educated me about Network Marketing. No one ever educated me on how amazing Network Marketing could be when it’s done RIGHT!
With Tupperware, I was just out there, doing parties and selling all alone……no support, no team. Just me. I had no idea what Network Marketing TRULY until Jill informed me on what Network Marketing truly was and I thought: GENIUS. Why didn’t I find this sooner? I believe it was because I was meant to have Jill, National Vice President, be my sponsor. I opened for business in February of 2011. I haven’t looked back since!

How close are you to getting your Mercedes?
I'm a District Manager right now. Next level is Area Manager, at that
level the benefit (beyond the increase in commission) is that I can Will my
business to my kids, who can Will it to their kids. After Area is the BIG
MERCEDES BENZ level, otherwise known as Regional Vice President. So I'm
just two promotions away from getting my car, which isn't a whole lot! I'm
expecting I'll be having my Mercedes Benz Presentation sometime in February
of 2012. I gave myself a year to earn it, gave myself TWO years to get to
National Vice President, where they pay you even more to drive the Mercedes
Benz around. I CANNOT WAIT to work less, make more and drive that car
Finally, I'm always looking for people to bring along on this amazing
journey. I want people who GET Network Marketing and WANT IT ALL. Dream
big, because that's the only way to dream! When people tell me my dreams
are unrealistic, I just tell them their dreams aren't big enough. All of
use deserve to have a life by design. Arbonne makes that possible! As long
as you put the work in at the start of it, you'll have the life you want to
live. It's an amazing ride and there's no signs of anything else but
SUCCESS. Everyone's definition of success is different. Sometimes people
just want to make a couple hundred bucks extra per month to sock away for
that dream vacation, some people want to earn the incentive trips to places
like Atlantis, some just want the car and some just want the friendships,
comradery. Success is only defined by you, because this is your life.

How did you go about seeking your information?
Being a skeptic, I obviously had my doubts about Network Marketing. I heard little voices in my head telling me it was a scam and a few people told me it was a Pyramid. Now, I knew, being an intelligent person, it wasn’t a Pyramid or a Scam because Mercedes Benz would never be in business with a company that was a scam. As for being a Pyramid, well, those are ILLEGAL and there’s no way this company was illegal.

But I did want to find out more about the company and see how stable it was, so I hit the Internet. I found a ton of information that was negative, but also a ton of inspirational stories.

I went to an Opportunity Meeting, a few of them, to meet and chat with others who were doing this business. I kept getting sidetracked by all those Mercedes Benz cars that drove up to each meeting. I asked all of them about getting started and how many obstacles they faced. All of them said “it was hard, because I had to get use to being told NO a lot, but just kept sharing Arbonne and just STUCK WITH IT”. That’s the key with Network Marketing, you MUST stick with it and be okay with other people saying no.

Another piece of advice I got was “this is NOT a get rich quick scheme, it’s a SIMPLE business, but it’s not going to get your rich quick. It’s WORK and there’s no way around that, but the WORK starts to become less as your team grows. Those who are trashing Arbonne, more often than not, are the ones who quit because it was too much work and they expected it to be easy”.

Do you have a mentor?  Would you consider mentoring someone who wanted to start a similar business?
I absolutely have a mentor. Jill Caputo is a rockstar in Arbonne. She’s at the top of the company every month. She promoted to National Vice President in less than a year and just always had blinders on and laser beam focus. When I get a little down, it’s not for very long, because Jill is right there telling me “so what if he or she said no, move onto the next person, you have this amazing gift to give people-the chance to design their life-keep sharing”.

I always think of Walt Disney and a quote I love from the movie Meet the Robinsons, “Keep Moving Forward” and that’s always Jill’s message to me.
I mentor my team. I do exactly what Jill does for me. I learn from Jill and pass down that knowledge to my team. I’d LOVE to sponsor and mentor everyone out there who wants to start an Arbonne business of his or her own. This business is such an amazing gift. I am so thankful to Jill.

What mistakes did you endure to figure out the right path?
Oh my golly gee gosh, I’ve made so many mistakes. One that sticks out in my mind: I spent so much time trying to get my team to build their teams, that I forgot I had to continue building! It’s all about finding your own way and I’m finally finding my own way. I FINALLY feel confident to share my knowledge with those I sponsor!

Moments of brilliance?
Saying yes was the most brilliant moment. Saying YES to Network Marketing with, in my mind, the best Network Marketing company out there – Arbonne.

Advice to others that are considering an online business?
Well, my business isn’t totally online. It’s actually a more personal contact business. You have to be willing to chat and share. If you want to start an online business, like the blog I have, make sure you find a great hosting service and a fantastic design team! Make sure you can sell ad space on your website, it’s the best way to bring cash into your world.

You have some tried and true frugal ideas.  Do you have sponsers seeking you out?I don’t have to balance mommyhood and online work. The kids have down time every day, that’s when I’m on the phone, doing emails and placing orders. If my team needs me, I can be reached all the time, but they know my kids are my LIFE, Arbonne is what allows me to live my life by design. Arbonne business is dealt with quickly and I’m back to my kids.
I do have a few sponsors that want to work with me. However, I'm super
picky about who I work with. This is my name out there, it's my word and
your word is your honor. You lose that, you lose your readers and then
you're helping no one. It's not about the money, with me. I make my money
with my Arbonne business. If someone wants to work with me, I make sure I
love the product, or the company, or the service. Anything I write about
has to make sense as being frugal - NOT CHEAP. Frugal just means the
quality is worth the price I'm comfortable paying.

Your appearance on the Dr. Oz show was fantastic.  http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/your-best-online-health-deals (watch this video!!)
I think that he forgot to tell you that you had the best idea for the I-Tunes pedometer  so, technically, you did win a challenge.  HOW did you get yourself on the Dr. Oz show?
Dr. Oz is awesome. I love watching him. He breaks everything down to the
"kindergarten" version for people like me. He did forget to tell me I had
an awesome find in that freebie for the iPod. That was all done in fun and
to prove a point: You can find amazing items for yourself that are
beneficial and DO NOT break the bank. The producers on the show weren't
super clear on all the facts. I could have found everything much less
expensive, but Dr. Oz was also looking for best buys and items that were
truly the frugal find. But the producers said it didn't matter about
quality, I just had to find it for super cheap. But I had fun. It was a
good time.
The show called me up to do a different segment a few months prior to that
show, but I didn't get chosen for it. The producer liked me and asked if
I'd be interested in doing this viewer challenge since I'm all about being
frugal. I don't remember how they got my name, though......it might have
been through a mom group. The funny part is I was also tapped to do two
Nate Berkus shows, but neither one came through......I'm hoping I can get
on that one soon! I'd like to counter balance the crazy chicks that were on
their with their extreme couponing. Do something for the mainstream people
who want to save money, but don't want thousands of items stockpiled in
their home, especially since toothpaste and deodorant do go bad after a
certain point!

Do you do your own blog layout or do you have help?
 I had someone move me from Blogger to Word Press. He chose the
template. I just use widget to try and make it look nicer, but it's rather
jam packed and I am looking for someone to design a logo and re-do the
whole blog design for me. However, I want to be able to change it without
going to anyone to help me. I like to be able to do as much as possible on
my own, because I don't like to be dependent on someone else.

How do you balance mommyhood and online work?
If I meet moms and dads, like at the activities for the kids, I chat them up and talk about Arbonne, without having to even step away from being a Mom. It’s the best business EVER for me and my family!

Are there any aspects of your business that aren’t covered here that you want to share?
This business is unique. It’s not for everyone. You have to have discipline, you must be willing to chat and share and you have to understand the hard work that happens the first year, pays off for YEARS to come. I make money while my kids play on the playground, swim in the pool and go to storytime. It’s residual income. By doing the hard work NOW, I’m building residual income for life – not just my life, but for my kids and their kids. I can leave this business to my kids and they can leave it to their kids. I’ve got a multi-million dollar business that can be left to my family……totally outstanding and UNIQUE!

What else can you share with us?
No matter what business you decide to do, you have to truly love something about the business BEYOND the fact that it’ll bring in an income. I love my business because it means I get to be “present” in my life. I no longer live a life where all I do is work, leave my kids at daycare, or miss sports events and class trips. What’s the point of having your family if you don’t get to enjoy being with them, exploring with them and just “living” with them?

You have to find what’s important to you in your life. Every person has a different passion – just sit down, breathe and get in touch with what you truly want out of your life. Then figure out how your business will allow you to have that life you visualize. Don’t worry about what is “expected” from society. YOU are the only one who gets to live your life. Starting a business should never take away from the life you want, it should help make that life possible!


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