Today’s episode of the podcast is all about the Modern Direct Seller Academy, but you’re not just going to hear about its benefits from us. Instead, we’re joined by members Michelle Albright, Amber Fox, and Jen Oneglia, who shared their Academy experiences in their own words! We discussed the ways they’ve grown and found community in the Academy, as well as how that knowledge has helped them pivot their businesses to see more success in this season of selling. If you’re curious about the Academy and all that it has to offer, or you simply want to connect with the like-minded direct sellers who make up the community, this episode is for you!
Connect with Michelle on Instagram, or follow her on her blog at EasyAwesomeLife.com.
Join Amber on her Facebook Group, or find her at www.H11901.PaperPie.com.
Follow Jen on Instagram, or shop with her at www.ShopWithJLo.net. And don’t forget to check out her favorite app: TickTick.
Time based notes:
- 1:41 Michelle Albright introduction
- 2:32 Jen Oneglia introduction
- 4:03 Amber Fox introduction
- 5:01 Learning and growth in the Academy
- 11:01 The importance of community
- 17:08 Business pivots in 2023
- 24:11 Our favorite office supplies
Sharing Solutions, Systems, and Successes in the Modern Direct Seller Academy
Our most recent episode of the podcast was all about the Modern Direct Seller Academy, but we didn’t just talk about its benefits from our perspective. Instead, we were joined by members Michelle Albright, Amber Fox, and Jen Oneglia, who shared their Academy experiences in their own words! We discussed the ways they’ve grown and found community in the Academy, as well as how that knowledge has helped them pivot their businesses to see more success in this season of selling.
Welcome Jen, Amber, and Michelle! I am so happy you’re here! Who wants to kick us off with a quick intro?
Michelle Albright: Thank you for having me! I’m super excited to share with everyone. I am married. We live in Pennsylvania, and I have a grown daughter who lives in New York City, which has a huge tie into why I started my business. I have been a Color Street stylist for five and a half years. I have an amazing team that I love doing this crazy business with, and I also love meeting so many people through this business that I wouldn’t have met before. Color Street is actually my full-time gig now, so I’m kind of loving that freedom, as well.
Exciting! And, five years in, leading a huge team, that is incredible.
I’ll pass it over to Jen next.
Jen Oneglia: Thank you again for having me. I just got back from three weeks being out of the country, so this is a little ray of sunshine, because I’m really sad to be back. I’ve been a full-time Thirty-One Gifts consultant for fourteen and a half years. I have a daughter who is a first-year medical student, and a son who’s a junior in college. So, they were teeny-tiny when I started my business. I have the best team in the world. And, I have an amazing team of leaders. As far as regular life, I am a cyclist, and I just got back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for my college roommate’s foundation, The Cancer Couch Foundation.
Incredible! We could probably have an entire podcast episode about your experience and the impact that you’re creating, and also what it’s been like to come back to real life after. We appreciate you being here.
Now, I’m gonna pass it over to Amber Fox! Amber, want to say hello?
Amber Fox: Hello! I am so excited to be here. I have not climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. But, I am married for almost 25 years. I have two adult daughters, and I am a Nana—which is the best job ever—to a beautiful seven-year-old girl. I’m a PaperPie brand consultant and team leader; we were formerly known as Usbourne Books and More. And, I think I have the best team. I really enjoy working with them.
Amazing. And, an exciting point to be in in your business, with the transition from Usbourne Books and More to PaperPie and being part of a rebranding; we might have to talk a little bit more about that. That’s pretty incredible.
I love sharing stories from those in the Academy. So, I’d love to hear one thing that you’ve learned or you’ve grown in since joining the Academy.
Michelle Albright: I’ll kick it off. I think, when I came to you in the Academy, I felt really lost and overwhelmed with my business. And, what I love about being in the Academy is that you teach us very simple, applicable actions to use. And so, I’m going to shout out your famous 3 + 3 + 3 and ABCs. It’s kind of changed my life, and the way that I streamline my business now, and just how I go about my day to day. And, I just think it’s working way smarter, and it takes a lot less time, too.
For those listening that are like, “3 + 3 + 3? ABC? What is she talking about?” Those are two formulas that we use to help kind of prioritize the most important pieces of your business that you can touch on a day-to-day basis. So, it’s active selling, building relationships, creating content. And then, the 3 + 3 + 3 model is connecting with three current customers, three future customers, and three future teammates each day.
And, you’re doing it, Michelle! And, your business is rocking, and probably a little bit more focused, too, which is always helpful when you’re someone who’s eager to try new strategies and new tools. Thank you for sharing.
Jen, what about you?
Jen Oneglia: So, I’m pretty new to the Academy. I joined right at the end of 2022, and was prepping for my trip during that time, so probably not at the best time. But, if there’s one thing I learned, there’s never the perfect time; you just have to get in and do it. And, there are two things that I love about the Academy. Number One is that Becky has these amazing systems set up, and, as part of the Academy, as a VIP member, we get them all included with our membership. I love that if I need help on booking, or recruiting, or Project Broadcast, I can just go on the website, login, and pick whatever I need training on. That has been really, really awesome.
I also love that with VIP, I have access to a group of leaders in their business on Voxer. We are in different businesses, but we all go through the same struggles. And, somebody might have had training through their company on one struggle, and I need help with that, and we can just get on Voxer and be like, “Hey, can anyone help me with this?” And, within minutes, you have lots of answers back.
I love our Voxer chat. It’s something that we haven’t done for very long; it was probably in the last few months that we added it in. It’s just this fun sideline conversation that can happen more informally, without setting up a formal Zoom meeting or booking time on calendars. It’s just very fluid and real-time—and it’s not required either. Some people are much more active in that chat than others.
Amber, what about you? What is one thing that you’ve learned since joining the Academy?
Amber Fox: So, one thing I have learned is to use a new system to interact with my team, whether it be sharing quick tips, motivational quotes, or just checking in to see how they’re doing and what I can do to help. So, that’s been very helpful.
And, something that I love about the Academy is that I love collaborating with like-minded women and just being able to pick their mind and gain insight into how they lead their team. Like Jen said, everybody’s from different companies, but we get to hear the different processes that everybody takes and how they interact with their teams.
And, I like so much about the Voxer. Something that was awesome on Voxer was that everybody helped me pick a brand for myself, a name for myself. We picked A Fox Tales, which I think is so clever.
That’s a huge accomplishment, Amber. And that was, I think, a fun group project for all of us to decide what we were going to help you name your business.
Amber Fox: It was, and I loved the help.
So, let’s talk a little bit about that community. I think, so often, we get stuck really focusing on what our company is offering, or what our team is doing, or what our inner circle is thinking. And, one thing that I love about the Academy—which goes far beyond my leadership—is the community that we’ve created. We’re able to connect with people that might have a similar business model to us, but they have totally different products that they’re selling. They might be thinking about strategies that are completely different than anything we’ve ever tried before. So, why have you found being part of a community outside of your company, outside of your team, important?
Michelle Albright: So, when Jen and Amber shared about the community as their favorite thing, I one hundred percent agree. The Academy brings people together that I would have never met, that are all very like-minded, and we collaborate on what’s working and what’s not working. Even though we’re in so many different types of businesses, there’s overlap. And, the way that we can share and interact even in our training Zooms or the Voxer makes it feel like this whole new company that we’ve created, right? We’re just so passionate about supporting and helping one another, and that has also been so good, because sometimes when you’re inside your own company, you still might get stuck in that little bubble.
It is like a bubble, huh? I couldn’t agree more. I mean, I belong to a mastermind myself of other business owners, and the conversation that comes from that group is invaluable. Even if somebody doesn’t have a membership, or doesn’t have courses, or has something totally different going on in their business, I always gain knowledge and strategies when we think outside the box a little bit—or outside of the bubble, as you said.
Michelle Albright: And, sometimes even social selling or direct selling can be isolating, because you’re at home and you feel like, “I’m working for myself.” But then, you’re like, “No, no, no. I have this amazing team of other women that I can connect and grow with.”
Not to mention, the three of you are leaders. And, that’s not true of everyone, but at some point, you might step into leadership with your company, and when you do, there’s certain things that you can’t say out loud to the whole team, right? So, there’s a safe space that we’ve created, and you can come to share your frustrations or your wins.
Amber, Jen, anything you’d add to that?
Amber Fox: I also think it’s great that we can hold each other accountable. I’m being held accountable right now. I know that when we meet next, I have to answer to some people about whether I have done what I said I was going to do.
But it’s, like, nice accountability, right?
Amber Fox: Totally nice accountability.
Jen, what would you say?
Jen Oneglia: What both Amber and Michelle said is so true, but I also want to kind of take it away from direct sales and say that I think it’s really important to have a community in your real life of people not in direct sales. In direct sales, especially if we’re leaders, and we do it full-time, our brain is always on. We’re always thinking about situations within our business, ways to make our business better, ways to grow our sales, all of that. And, if we’re not careful, that can be all we think about.
But, my two best friends of more than 20 years are not in direct sales. So, when I get together with them, I can just talk about who I am, what I do, the kids, whatever, and it’s not business-related. And, I think it’s really important to have those connections in your life, as well, where you can just not be Jen, the direct seller. You can just be Jen, the human.
I could not agree more. When you’re with your people, it’s natural for business to creep into the conversation, because that’s what we do, and we’re so passionate about it. But, I definitely have those friends in my circle, too, that if I tried to start talking about my business, they’d be like, “Hold up. What? Go get another margarita.” And again, an entire podcast episode could be on disconnecting from your business, especially when you feel like you’re so attached to it and it’s always on your mind.
So, let’s talk about what business looks like here in 2023. I do feel like this is another year of pivoting, and we’re seeing that industry-wide. Some of the strategies that we put in place during the pandemic, or even after the pandemic last year, are not necessarily working or looking the same as they have the year before. So, I’d love to hear from you three on anything you’re doing this year to really shake things up in your business, or make things look a little bit different, or to stay more relevant and drive sales.
Michelle Albright: Well, I think it’s super important to not be afraid to try new things, because when we do the big, scary things, that’s where we grow. I try to look at pivoting as fun and to enjoy learning a little bit about all the things—like Reels, and how to use them to bring more value to social selling. Like, what does it mean to show up on social media and not just push a product, but really grow my connections? And, when it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like work. So: pivoting in the value, showing up scared, focusing on the relationships and not the product. When you do that, I think you’ll be surprised, because you will find growth by just trying new things.
I think, especially as leaders, you’re really leading the way in that. Sometimes you’re trying things before you’re sharing it with the rest of your team, or you’re being transparent and saying, “Hey, I did this. It didn’t really work.” Or, “I did this, and oh my gosh, look at the amazing response that I got.” I think that being the first to step out and do something differently or do something scared is all part of leadership. So, that’s incredible advice, Michelle.
Michelle Albright: To learn the way and then show the way, right? That’s a great leader.
Jen, what about you? Where are you making pivots?
Jen Oneglia: So, like Michelle, I am trying some new things. I’m definitely getting into Reels more. I had posted a Reel, actually, when I was in Africa, that was me going to the bathroom on safari, and there was an elephant in the way. And, that got 26,000 views. And, I’m like, “Okay, I need to figure out a way to transition that into my product.” I need to develop more relationships, and to show who I am, while still reminding people that I sell.
And really, I’m just getting more systems down in 2023. I’m going to be moving in the next year, so I’m downsizing a lot of my life. And, one of the things I’m trying to downsize and simplify is systems within my business. That’s where the Academy is helping. I’m going to get my website up and running, and try to be more relatable, and have a nice balance of business and personal stuff out there for people to see.
I mean, the elephant Reel. I think that that is a such a great example of sharing your personal brand and sharing who you are and what you’re doing and where you are. And yes, it’s getting incredible attention and views and engagement, and then it’s working that into your business. And, talking about the elephant is an easier intro to a conversation than, like, “Let me tell you about the brand-new bag that came out,” right? So, I think that that just shows how you can really marry this beautiful personal side of your life to what you’re doing on the day to day with your business.
And, I don’t know if anyone else feels this way about this year, but it used to be that everything had to be kept separate. Like, you had your business content over here on your page, and then you had your personal content over here on your profile, and it was like, “Do not dare post something business-related on that personal profile.” And, I think all those lines have gotten blurred over the last year or so, and there’s more acceptance to mashing them together. I think that’s an exciting opportunity that maybe we haven’t talked about enough.
Amber, what about you? Are there pivots or changes that you’re making in your business?
Amber Fox: There are a few things that I am doing—which Michelle and Jen touched on, too. I am doing things scared. We have to do things scared, or we’re not going to grow. So, that’s so important. I’m reaching out to people that I have not reached out to before. I’ve created a website that I’m very excited about, so that’s going to give me, I think, a lot more interaction. And, I am definitely trying to interact with all of my customers more, so that they feel like they know me better, and I want to know them better.
I definitely feel like this is the year that the one-on-one personal relationships, the direct connections, are becoming more important than they ever have been. For so long, we were blessed that the social media algorithm was working in our favor in many ways, that we were getting that natural visibility, that we didn’t have to spend as much time having those direct conversations in the DMs and the PMs. But, I think I heard a little bit from all three of you that really connecting in a genuine, authentic, real human way with those leads, those followers, those customers is the priority this year. I love that.
Speaking of connections, tell everyone where they can find you online!
Michelle Albright: I love Instagram and all the things, so I am there @EasyAwesomeLife. And then, I would love if you would hold me accountable and come over to my new blog that Becky helped me with at EasyAwesomeLife.com.
Jen Oneglia: Instagram is definitely the place to find me. It’s @Jen.Oneglia. And, my Thirty-One website is www.ShopWithJLo.net.
Amber Fox: I am still working on my Instagram, but you can find me on Facebook under “Amber’s VIP Book Club.” I’d love to connect with you there. And, my direct website is www.H11901.PaperPie.com.
Get access to direct sales training, invites to exclusive virtual events, real time support and coaching, and more by joining the Academy at ModernDirectSellerAcademy.com!
Take Action: What is one way that connecting with other direct sellers could positively impact your business?