The road that led me to my Tupperware career was very windy and it’s taught me many, many lessons. I also have a degree in Math so I’ll tell my story in numbered, sequential order 🙂
Lesson #1 – Work Hard
1. I grew up in a lower middle class family 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, PA. My Dad worked shifts in a steel mill, he worked in a clothing store part time and he drove a school bus….yes, he worked 3 jobs to support our family of 6. My Mom was the church organist and also drove school bus after all her kids were in school full time. I learned at an early age all about the value of a strong work ethic.
2. I met my husband, Bill when I was 14 years old at the annual company picnic for the steel mill where both of our Dad’s were employed. The picnic was at an amusement park and we met while waiting in line for the Wildcat, a roller coaster. I think that’s a very apropos place to meet for a lifetime of ups and downs!
Lesson #2 – Believe in Yourself
3. We will celebrate our 35rd wedding anniversary on August 31st 2014. We married VERY young! I was 16; Bill was 17. We were parents 6 months later (how did THAT happen?) and VERY DETERMINED to not be just another statistic. We got married on the 31st of August, took a 3 day honeymoon to Niagara Falls and then got dropped back into reality. We lived with my parents while Bill started college, worked part time in construction and I stayed in high school until the week before I delivered in January. I was a good student and had accumulated enough credits that I was able to take the last semester of my junior year off. I went back to high school my senior year for half days and worked at Burger King the other half of the day while my Mom took care of our son. I graduated #17 in my class of 346 students; the top 5%. We were determined not to be just another statistic. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary.
4. Bill graduated from college, was commissioned into the Air Force and we moved to Dayton, OH. I was 19 years old, had two children, (I guess we still hadn’t figured that part out) no family closer than 5 hours away and wanted to get my own college degree. I started school at Wright State University and graduated in five years with a 3.6 GPA and a degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. During that 5 years we had another child (yep, that’s #3!), my husband got fixed (we figured it out!), we bought our first house and Bill got his master’s degree. I did work study to earn extra money and there were days when he and I passed each other going in and out the door. He would come home from work, I would leave for school. Again, we were determined not to be another statistic.
Lesson #3 – DREAM!
5. In our Air Force life we were exposed to many other business opportunities from party plans to Amway…you name it, we saw it. We joined Amway and actually worked the “plan” for 5 years. While I can’t say that we earned much money, we met some wonderful lifelong friends and we learned how to DREAM and want bigger things for our lives!!! We realized that we didn’t have to let someone else determine how much our time was worth. Together, Bill and I made the decision that someday, somehow we were going to own a business and be financially free.
6. In May of 1996 the Tupperware Opportunity “Came a Knockin’”. I will forever be grateful to Lisa Shively, my neighbor who hosted the party and invited me, Lynn Thompson, the fabulous manager who did the party and sparked my interest with her “Ask Me Questions” game and Paulette and Mark Krisher who believed in me before I even knew what I was doing. All I knew was that I wanted to be JUST LIKE THEM and be a TW Distributor. When I started building my business I was working a full time job, my kids were 11, 13 and 16 and my military husband was gone for the entire summer. I asked Paulette and Lynn what I needed to do to make lots of money and quit my job and they said:
1) Attend everything you can – GO TO EVERYTHING…I become a sponge
2) Hold parties…I did multi-host parties because I didn’t have a lot of time
3) Share the opportunity…I shared and shared and shared!
I was a manager by the end of the summer and by the end of November, 1996 I had earned my first free vehicle, a free vacation with Tupperware and quit my job. I had replaced my income in 6 months. I worked like a dog for 6 months because I can do anything for a short period of time!
Lesson #4 – SHORT TERM SACRIFICE FOR LONG TERM GAIN!
7. In August of 1998, just 27 months after I joined started my Tupperware business, Bill and I were offered a franchise in St. Louis, MO. Our dream was coming true. He took an early retirement from the Air Force, I moved to St. Louis by myself for 9 months while he stayed in Ohio to finish out the school year with our children. This was pre-cell phone, pre-internet, pre-stay connected all the time. I saw my family one weekend a month for almost 10 months until we were able to sell our home in Ohio. Everyone moved to St. Louis in June, 1999. SHORT TERM SACRIFICE for LONG TERM GAIN!
8. Bill and I worked together in our TW business for better or for worse from 1999 until 2005. After Sept. 11 he had a deep conviction and decided he wanted to go back into the Air Force. Because he was an officer when he retired, the process took almost 3 years. He raised his hand and took the oath of office for the second time in October of 2004 and started working in 2005. This change in our lives coincided with some changes that TW made to its compensation plan and structuring so the timing was just right. He accepted a job assignment at the Pentagon so we rented a townhouse in Alexandria, VA and he moved there in January of 2006. Since then, he re-retired from the Air Force and started working as a civilian in DC. He worked there for 2 years and then got a transfer back to St. Louis in April 2013. During the 7 years from January 2006 – April 2013, I commuted between St. Louis, MO and the greater DC area each and every month. Bill and I did not live together full time for over 7 years. You might ask WHY would you do this? SHORT TERM SACRIFICE FOR LONG TERM GAIN!
So what are these long term gains I keep referring to?
Some are tangible, some are not. Our three children grew up as military kids. They learned to adapt at an early age. We’ve moved 13 times over the last 34+ years. They can make friends anywhere and fit in to most situations. Our kids are now 28, 30 and 34. They are all married and combined have blessed us with 6 grandchildren (update…#7 is due Sept. 7, 2014). You see, I think we showed them by example what a great life you can have when you know what you want, set a goal and go for it. All three of our children also chose on their own to go into the military. They saw something in us that they wanted for themselves. Our daughter Lindsay has a degree in Music Therapy and was a musician in the Missouri Air National Guard for 10 years until it was decommissioned in Sept 2013. Our oldest son Justin is also in the MO ANG as a satellite and broad band communication specialist. He has a degree in Physics and he and his wife talk in a techie language I usually don’t understand. Our middle son Adam, got a degree in Electrical Engineering from St. Louis University and then decided to go to medical school through the Air Force. He is currently in year 2 of his 3 year residency in Anesthesiology at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.
Our Tupperware business has given me and my family CHOICES! There are things that money has been able to buy and freedoms that I would never have with a “real” job. I was able to take time off to give my Mom a kidney in December 2007. This added more than five years to her life. When she passed in May 2013, I was also able to spend as much time as I needed to with my family while my Tupperware team continued to work and bring in OUR BIGGEST MONTH EVER in sales! Give me a computer and a phone and I can work anywhere around any situation. I have built the infrastructure that allows me the freedom to work from anywhere.
My business also gives me the opportunity and funds I need to fly to San Antonio and visit my son, his wife and their 3 crazy kids whenever I need a fix. Or I can take a weekend and drive to Ozark, MO and spend time with our oldest son and his family. Or I can invite my two grandsons who live close to me to come over for some “Grandma Time”! CHOICES, that’s what it’s all about!
But you see, regardless of where I am, I know that I need to still work. I still put the time in. I still talk to people. I still train. I’ve learned to do things in very unique ways. In turn, my Organization is very skilled in many of these things too. They don’t know any other way. I think they are stronger and they’ve also adapted. Our Mighty River Sales Organization is like a family and we have been through many personal tragedies over the past several years. We’ve had a rough few years but together we are working through it and finding what works best. No one has given up.
So in closing, this is what I want to leave you with and the reason why I shared all that I did about me…because it’s not about ME. It’s about YOU. What are you letting get in your way? Why do you let your excuses speak for you instead of your dreams? Today is the day for you to make a choice to be the business builder that you can be and deserve to be. Change others’ lives by first changing your own!
Lesson #5 – Never Give Up!