Mom Boss Interview: Stephanie Ireland from SeneGence

Alright, mom bosses: I'm back at it again with another mompreneur who is kicking butt and taking names! 

If you have been on social media anytime in the last 7 years, I'm sure you have been invited to online parties or have seen posts from friends about direct sales products/opportunities... but how legitimate and lucrative are these MLM companies? 

We have talked with Karen from Plexus, CallieJo from Usborne, Laurel from Young Living, and now Stephanie from SeneGence! 

Here she is now:

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Stephanie, please tell our readers a little about yourself and -- if you don't mind -- your professional background.

I am a single mother to a beautiful baby girl who is a year and a half. I was always told that i wouldn't be able to carry a baby to term so i never thought it would happen. And then I was blessed!!! So now I don't want to miss a moment of her life but still need to support us and give her everything I can. Professionally I have worked in office settings and it's been for way too long, if you ask me. When I was much much younger I would always try out the bold or wacky colours on my lips. Like one time I used green eyeliner and then put a little gloss over it to make my own lipstick and when I came out of my room my mother said "Here Comes Stephie's Lips" so when i was trying to decide on a business name thats what i went with

Have you ever partnered with another direct sales company or is SeneGence your first? 

I tried partnering with another direct sales company when I was in my early 20's but it didn't work out. Which I definitely think had to do with my age and mindset at the time. Plus I was working two full time jobs at that moment and didn't really give that opportunity a fair chance. 

With all of the other direct sales companies out there, what drew you to SeneGence in particular? 

The first aspect that drew me to SeneGence was the product LipSense. I had never even heard of the company when I was added to a group that was doing a giveaway for a free gloss that I happened to win (which is crazy because I don't usually win anything. Must have been meant to be. lol). While talking to the Distributor who would be sending out the gloss I learned about the product and was a little skeptic. I mean come on, a lip colour that really is kiss proof and smudge proof? Like literally? I didn't believe her. But I was curious so I ordered a couple colours. When they were delivered I tried the one colour on (Plum) and it instantly became my favourite colour that I have ever worn! And it wouldn't come off! I ate two meals that day, drank copious amounts of water, and kissed my daughter all over her face and still it wasn't coming off. So I left it on all night and woke up with it still on! And at that point I was hooked! I signed up that day!

What opportunities has SeneGence given you and what can the moms reading this expect to gain by joining?

There are so many opportunities with this company! SeneGence treats us like royalty. You can hit ranks and become Maidens and Princesses! They award us with ruby and sapphire rings! Cars! Trips! And life long friendships between distributors (which really is the best award there is!). I finally have the family I've always wanted xoxo

I have no experience whatsoever with direct sales and its pay scale, so can you give us the spark notes version of how this works with your company?

Sure! So once you sign up you immediately get every product at 20% off retail value. The more you sell the higher your discount gets (up to 50%off). This is the part I love... I take my profit from the top before I place my order. For example, I placed an order that retailed for $946. I paid $463. So I made $483 profit just from one order! I tend to do 2 orders per month and the profits just keep coming in!! I also have a team of amazing ladies that have signed up under me and every month I receive a percentage of their sales that I immediately reinvest in my business and purchase stock (Okay I'll be honest... that's what I buy the products just for myself with lol)

How many hours a week do you spend on your business and how do you promote it?

Right now I spend about 6 hours spread out through the whole day. A little more if I'm doing a flash sale that lasts all day but even then I use Facebook to schedule my posts and then just follow along with the games and comments lol. In all honesty you'll get out of it what you put into it. If you want to make a full time income you totally can but you have to be willing to do the work. 

I use Facebook primarily to promote my business. I join buy and sell groups as well as job posting groups. And that's simply because you can reach a huge range of people and keep track of it all in one place. But it's also word of mouth, and I take part in various vendor events at which I do product demos and hand out my business cards. 

And now for my favorite question: Do you have a favorite memory that pertains to SeneGence?

My favourite part of being with SeneGence is the amazing women that I work alongside! I am on a team of 28 lovely ladies and we support each other 24/7. We are all about building each other up and helping each other succeed in not only this business but in life also. There have been many times where something has been stressing me out and I rant to my ladies and they help me feel better with funny pics or gifs. They are amazing! 

My favourite memory was not too long ago actually. I was scrolling through posts from my SeneGence Mommas upline (the lady who signed up the lady who signed me up, lol )  and came to her post recognizing her top 5 downline and my name was on the list! It was a total shock to see my name up there and to get recognition for it. It was a true testament to all of the hard work I was putting in. 

To learn more -- or to get started -- please shoot Stephanie an email (Stephanieireland061@gmail.com) or check out her Facebook page

Mom Boss Interview: Nancy Miracle from Miracle Farms

I am so so excited about today's mom boss, not only because she is one of the hardest working and most talented people I know, but because she is my mother-in-law as well :P If you know my "Mamma Nancy," you know she does it all: Farming, crafting, selling, flipping, AND working full-time at a school... she is seriously AMAZING (and she puts 100% into everything she does). I can go on and on about this fabulous woman, but I will let her tell you the rest:

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Nancy, can you please tell our readers who haven't had the pleasure to meet you more about you?

I am 55 years old and have worked for South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative for the past 5 years. Basically I travel to 15 South Central Schools and help Special Ed students find jobs and get them job experience. I love my job but I do look forward to my summers when I can stay home and pursue my own interests such as working with my animals and canning and whatever else I decide to make. This year I am expanding my interests to making lotions, exfoliating lotions, bath bombs, candles and play dough for the kids.  

You have worn many hats over the years in terms of your careers, so can you tell us a little bit of what types of jobs you have had since you began working?

I've had many jobs over the years from fast food to banking to beauty products to Home Improvement to womens clothing, novelty and para.  I often held two and for a while 3 jobs at the same time.

I grew up on a  farm up in North Dakota and never really appreciated how wonderful it truly was until after I moved off when I graduated from high school.  I've lived in town since I was 18.  I've been a "city girl" from then until about 4 years ago. I never thought I would ever live on a farm again, but I always thought it would be nice to lie in the country on a little "Hobby Farm", but still have our regular jobs in town.

Fast forward to when you met your (now) husband a few years ago... you made a pretty big change by moving from the city to the country! Did you know from the start that you were going to start a side business from your new farm?

I met Russell on line about 6 years ago.  He also lived in town and works as a mechanic.  He had lived on a farm as a kid and also wanted a place out in the country.  So when I decided to move 2 hours away from my home to go live with and marry Russell, shortly after, we found a place in the country and decided to buy it.

When I say you do it all, I mean you do. it. all. For those of our readers who may not know you in real life, what all do you make and sell from your farm?

When we moved to the country I had no idea at the time that I would get so involved in gardening canning and especially my animals.  Honestly, Russell is more of the gardener, but like he says, I sure do like to sell it at the Farmer's Market.  I however, really enjoy my animals.  We started out with a few baby chicks that Russell surprised me with and put them in a small building that was already there and built them a pen.  It didn't take long and my few chicks and one house and pen turned into 9!  Before I knew it I had over 150 chickens!  I had ducks, geese and turkeys for a while but decided to just stick with chickens.

Once the word got out that I had chickens the egg orders started coming in!  So the first thing off my farm that I started selling were my eggs. 

I have 6 different breeds of chickens that I incubate their eggs and then sell them at a poultry auction that's held once a month.  From chickens we quickly went to pigs, cows and goats!  Along with several cats, two German Shepard dogs and one boarder collie.  Oh, and I can't forget my peacocks Romeo and Juliet!

How do you sell your products? Do you do anything online or is it all in person?

The first year out at our farm we noticed tons of sand plums growing.  And I decided I wanted to try and make sand plum jelly.  That was a big hit, so then I tried watermelon jelly and that too did very well.  Once the garden started producing I started selling at the Farmer's Market.  My produce, jellies and salsa, which I make from my own home grown vegetables, sold so well that I now sell at two different Farmer's Markets once a week.  This year I decided to try a few other things.

If you had to choose one of your side businesses as your favorite, which would it be?

I love making things and it's very rewarding when I can sell it to people who really enjoy it and also make a little profit from it! I'm always coming up with different things to make.  (Oh, I can't forget my zucchini bread made from my home grown zucchini and pumpkin bread made from my home made pumpkins!)  I also make signs  etc. from pallets

Can I say on here that I am also making home made wine and beer?  The beer I haven't quite mastered yet but the apple wine is the best!!  Of course I can't sell that but my family members sure like it when Christmas comes around!

In closing, I have to give kudos to my wonderful husband who is my biggest supporter! He encourages me in everything I do!  No matter how outrageous it seams he says "Whatever you want. If it makes you happy, why not?"

Mom Boss Interview: CallieJo Schilling from Usborne Books & Backyard Creations

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, moms and dads: I am so so so excited about today's Mom Boss, as she is not only extremely inspirational and talented, but also a distant relative on my husband's side that I just met (thanks, Aunt Paulette!). Side Hustle Mom: Meet CallieJo Schilling. CallieJo is an amazing wife, mom, and business woman who is not only hardworking, but smart, as she holds both a Bachelors in Elementary Education AND a Masters in Teaching and Learning. (Major #goals, right?) Without further ado, here is the incredible CallieJo:

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CallieJo, you wear A LOT of hats in your family, but I know the most important of all is that of wife and mother. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I am a South Dakota girl born and raised on a farm/ranch by Lowry, SD. I met my husband, Jess, when we both were working at the Akaska Bait Shop. He was a fishing/hunting guide and part-time bartender. We got married in 2009, that same year my husband also worked on the farm for my parents. I taught 1st grade, Title I Reading and Math, and Kindergarten for 5 years. In that time, we had our son Eli (5 yrs now) and daughter Raelynn (3 yes now). January 2013 I started Backyard Creations, my embroidery/sewing business, while teaching and helping on the farm. After my daughter was born in 2015, I went to work full time on the farm, continued running Backyard Creations, and that fall I was able to continue my love for teaching and reading by becoming an Usborne Books and More Consultant.

You grew up on a farm and still help out quite a bit with the day-to-day work that comes with this vital profession. What is your job in running the ranch and what does it entail?

On the farm, I am a hired hand and also help do the bookkeeping. So during planting season, I help my dad and husband with the planting. This time of year we are also calving our cows and heifers so I assist with this too, making sure that the calves are born, tagged, given their shots, and kept healthy. Throughout the summer I help with checking the cows in the pasture, helping my dad and husband with spraying the fields and other day to day farm duties. When fall comes, I run grain cart during harvest and when we bring the cows home from pasture we assist with feeding cows. Year round I’m assisting with the book work, so I’m helping keep track of what is done to each field and putting all the expenses and income into the computer for tax purposes. Also,I assist my mom with other secretary duties for the farm.

As if that didn't keep you busy enough, you are also an Usborne Books distributor (which is one of the very few direct sales companies I will buy from, which should tell you something about the quality of these books)! How long have you been working with Usborne and what has it done for your family?

I have been with Usborne Books and More since August of 2016. I love reading and want to share my love of reading and literacy with as many children as possible. This last January, I signed was able to become and educational consultant as well. This business has helped my family purchase supplies to finish our basement, but Christmas presents, and also add to our kids’ future CDs.

Do you have tips for any moms (or dads!) out there thinking of becoming an Usborne Consultant?

Usborne Books and More is so great, they are flexible and allow you to work your own schedule. I have been able to hold parties, cards for a cause fundraisers, and book fairs all around my busy schedule. I figure out what days/nights I have available and want to work and they start to fill those dates with parties or our other programs we offer. So I make my schedule and follow as best as I can, making sure I set aside at least four 20 minute periods throughout the week for me to work on this business.

In addition to raising a family, farming, AND selling Usborne, you also run a sewing and embroidery business! How did you get started with this?

My love for sewing started back when I was 7 years old and began sewing my own clothes for 4-H. I loved creating new outfits, quilts, and many other projects every year. Each year I would spend many hours sewing with my grandma and entering these projects in 4-H. I became fascinated with embroidery and the machines when I was 9 and set the goal to own my own machine someday. In January 2013, my husband and I purchased my 10 needle embroidery machine and started Backyard Creations. I started with doing embroidery and sewing work for family, friends, and some local customers. Now I have been kept busy with sewing quilts, Hooded ponchos, embroidering caps, t-shirts, coats and much more.

If you don't mind my asking, what was the investment you had to make in starting your embroidery business (buying machinery, materials, etc.)? Would you say it has paid off? Would you recommend it to other creative moms?

My investment in my embroidery/sewing business was purchasing an embroidery machine and all the supplies (stabilizers, bobbins, threads, and such). I also purchased some sweaters, caps, baby blankets and etcetera to stitch on. One nice thing is I had already owned my own sewing machine from years of sewing in 4-H. This has paid off. I’ve learned many things from this business and have accomplished many things. I’m in the process of finding and purchasing a long arm quilting machine to help with putting the many t-shirt quilts together. I love seeing my daughters interest in this business at three years old. If you have something you love to do, for example sewing or creating thing, think about how you can use that ability/hobby to help your family out. It feels great to be able to help my family out by doing what I love.

What does a day in your shoes look like? With all the hats you wear, I am guessing you get maybe a solid 3 hours of sleep each night, right? (Seriously, how do you do it all?!)

Every day is different depending on the time of year. Right now my day consists of waking up early to get my son ready for school, eat breakfast, and get on the bus. Then I try to fit in a 30 minute workout (for some me time ) and then get my daughter up and ready for the day. Within this time my husband has been up and gone to the farm for the day. Once my daughter is ready, we head out to help on the farm. Many times she rides with me in the tractors and things and other times my mom watches her so I can help my dad and husband with other things on the farm (checking cows, planting, etc). Most times I’m able to be home by 4 pm when my son gets off the bus (except for harvesting, that time of year it’s closer to 9 pm before I get home). I spend time with my two kiddos doing homework, playing games and exploring the outdoors. After supper, the kids are to bed usually around 7:30 and then I begin to multi-task on my embroidery/sewing projects and covering what needs to be done with my Usborne Books and More business until my husband gets home. I guess you can say I’m a lady who doesn’t usually need a ton of sleep. There are some nights, when the farm has kept me busy for a few days, that I work on my embroidery/sewing projects until the wee hours of the nights just so I can finish a project or two. I just seem to find time here and there and use it to accomplish what I can. I guess you can say I love to keep busy.

Okay, now if you absolutely HAD to choose, which job would you say is your favorite?

Oh my, to choose which job is my favorite is super hard. I absolutely love being on the farm helping my dad and husband while being able to raise my two kids the way I grew up on the farm and enjoying the outdoors. I’m able to spend lots of time with my family, which is my favorite thing to do. This wouldn’t be possible with the hard work from my husband and my Backyard Creations and Usborne Books and More businesses; which, I love completely. My Usborne Books and More business has brought me some awesome new friendships and meeting people from all over the United States while sharing books and the importance of reading with kids and young adults. My Backyard Creations business allows me to make time for my favorite hobby of sewing.

Mom Boss Interview: Sharon Holck from Sharon Holck Photography & Blog

Alright moms (and dads) -- we've got a treat for you today! 

When you got engaged, married, had a baby, and/or hit any major life milestones, you probably hired a professional photographer to document the big moment, right?

If you are like me, you may have wondered what it takes to become a photographer (aside from gobs of talent and patience, of course) and whether or not it is a lucrative work-from-home position... well, today we are getting all of our questions answered, thanks to the amazing Sharon Holck! 

Sharon is a wife, mommy to a darling little girl, and photographer who lives in Hawaii (#goals), loves Fixer Upper (a girl after my own heart), and can always be found in a pair of mismatched socks :) She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute in New York and is THE person to go to for not only gorgeous photos, but also honest answers to all things business related. 

Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Sharon, please tell us a little bit about yourself: we know that you are an extremely talented photographer and busy mommy, but what else do you do in terms of either work or hobbies?

A little less than a year ago, I decided that it was time to get myself into better shape. I joined a local Stroller Strides group to get a chance to socialize with other moms as well as letting my daughter Riley play with kids her age. I know I'm not alone in saying staying at home can get isolating so this has really helped with me personally. We spend usually almost two hours with this group a few times week. I feel like I have this happy medium between stay at home and working mom because I work 3 nights a week at a restaurant being a photo host. They're short shifts that allow me to really only miss 3 of my daughters awake hours while still bringing in that little bit of extra money for bills or for building my photography business.

Have you always been in a creative line of work or is photography the first?

I have always been a creative person. I remember when I was little I was obsessed with making my own books. I would draw like as many zoo or water animals as I could and write little stories to go with my pictures. I also loved painting and drawing. I thought photography kind of came later but I was going through some old pictures and found that I've been kind of playing with cameras since I was maybe 7.

What got you into photography? Have you always had a knack for or interest in it?

 

My brother actually started me on my photography path. We are 10 years apart and so he was a big role model in my life. I wanted to be just like him. He always carried a camera around and when I was about 13 I told my parents I wanted a camera just like he does and they bought me this dinky little digital camera. I took a lot of pictures of animals and plants and my brother would always give me little lessons or projects for me to try and do. Over time, I started getting a lot of compliments from my family that my pictures were good but I had no idea I could make a living off of it. It was just a hobby. In college, I planned to go to veterinary school but I didn't get in. I didn't know what else to do so I took a photography class along side my other classes and fell in deep. I decided, this is what I wanted to do.

What inspired you to start Sharon Holck Photography? Can you share with us what it takes to start your own photography business?

 

When I actually started, my dream was to be a landscape and travel photographer for National Geographic. I kind of had this idea that I would shoot portraits for money but inspire to one day work and travel for them. That really changed though once I had my daughter. She was a complete surprise and honestly really scared me, but the idea of photographing her really got me through those first weeks and really helped my connection with her. I changed my focus completely to kid and family photography but my why was still missing. I knew I needed to figure out why my passion for photographing families was so strong in order to make me as a photographer stand out. It wasn't until one day at my restaurant job that I came across a man who I photographed a picture of him and his grandson. He loved the picture and wanted it but his wife didn't want to buy it. I couldn't bear to let him leave without it and printed him a small version of it before he left. I returned to my station knowing one day that little boy is just going to love that picture of him and his grandpa. I thought about my mom who passed away when I was a teenager and how I cherish every picture I have of me and her together and it all clicked. I photograph because I want to create a treasure that will only get sweeter as time goes on for every family.

There is obviously a lot more to being a photographer than just pointing the camera and clicking, so can you share what the process looks like and how much time you devote to most clients?

I think what it takes to start your own photography business is really knowing your why and your goals. It is one thing to love photography because trust me, I stayed there for years. Even when I already knew I wanted to be a photographer, my work still seemed flat until I figured out what drives me. You really need to take time to think about what makes you tick, what makes you special enough to make people want to hire you. You can take good pictures, but if you aren't passionate about the work you are doing, there will be always someone better they could work with.

 

I'll admit, that I am still in the beginnings of my photography business. So there has been a lot of testing the waters on my exact client experience. So far, I try to first bring all my clients through a small set of questions designed for me to get to know them, searching for at least something in common with them. We talk about locations, reasons for the session, and all that good stuff. While my packages all come with a time limit, I don't actually set a timer for these. My goal in the end is to create the best gallery of pictures possible for my clients. If I can get that done in 20 mins, that's cool. If it takes me an hour and a half then that is awesome too. After that I quickly edit 3-5 pictures as a sneak peek to deliver to them within 24 hours of their session and then depending on how much my daughter naps and sleeps, will depend on how fast I get through their editing. I give myself a 2 week turnaround but most times I'm done in a few days which equals probably between 10-15 hours of editing per job.

How do you market yourself and your business? Is there a certain platform (your website, FB, Instagram, etc.) that you would recommend to other mom bosses?

For the longest time I mostly used a facebook page. My business has had a lot of false starts so the page never did really well. I am really a little over a year of hardcore working on my business every single day to start getting it somewhere. I have been working really hard on my instagram and figuring out how to use instagram stories for people to get to know me. My brother and I are currently working on a full rebrand for my business and will be launching a new website hopefully in the next month or so through Showit.co.

Lastly, I started a blog a little under a year ago and since publishing it and keeping up with it, I have noticed a real build in my client base. I try to keep it pretty casual. On Monday's I try to focus more on mommy life going over what we've been up to as a family, or sharing tips, funny stories and all that jazz. And then on Thursdays I post photography related posts that deal with my photo sessions or thoughts on photography.

And now for my favorite question: Do you have a favorite work memory that you can share (whether it be sweet, funny, etc.)?

I am totally like the most clumsy and ditzy photographer ever I swear. I think in front of almost all my clients I either will have a time where I am about to start photographing and I forget the lens cap is on or I just don't watch where I'm stepping and trip or fall into something. It's a miracle I haven't broken any bones or equipment yet. But perhaps one of my most recent fun photo memories was I recently did an even through Stroller Strides where moms could donate toys to a children's hospital and I would take some Valentine's Day pictures. I had 12 back to back photography sessions in my home cause we got rained out. I had set up a studio in our dining room and set up a play room so kids could play and wait. My daughter (she's 2) has been photographed so much she is becoming my little mini me and it cracks me up. As families would walk in, she would greet the kids and tell them to come. She would bring the to the back drop and tell them where to sit and then to look at me and say "cheese!" Which I don't even know where she got that from cause I don't even tell her to say cheese but just to smile or look at me. At one point, I'm photographing a family and she comes and grabs her play camera and sits next to me and starts calling them and taking her own pictures. I really wish someone would have snapped a picture of it cause it was so darn cute! If any kids were a little scared she would even jump into the photos and hold their hands or pat their back and try to make them see it was okay. I just love how much of a little helper she is becoming and I wonder if one day we might become a family business.

If you want to get in touch with Sharon and/or just enjoy her beautiful work, be sure to visit her website, Facebook, and Instagram