Find out how network marketing helped Michelle live authentically.
A certified life coach, a qualified engineer, and now a successful business owner. Network Marketing gave Michelle the opportunity to live authentically and start living life for herself. If you’ve ever looked at your life and asked yourself how did I get here? And, start to question what you actually want as opposed to what society wants… read on. Michelle shares how she completely changed her life so she could start living for herself and be the role model she wanted for her children.
Let’s start with network marketing? Why do you love the industry so much?
I wish I had a magic wand and could just go bibbidi bobbidi boo success! But life isn’t like that, you have to work hard. This industry has such a bad rap and in the beginning, I used to hide exactly what I was doing because I was so scared of being frowned upon or judged by those around me. I cared too much about what others thought of me.
And so, what started happening was that I was marketing myself and my own happiness more than what I was selling. For the first time I really understood what people meant when they said people don’t buy the products first, they buy you first and then the products. The more credibility and vulnerability I could show, the more people I could help.
I was being authentic and true to myself explaining how using the products had changed my own wellbeing and all the positive results I was seeing. And as I grew in confidence and started to do things more for myself and care less about what other people thought, I was able to talk about network marketing and my business without feeling ashamed. It was simply an extension of myself.
I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved so far. Not just in my business, but for growing in confidence and self-belief. I love network marketing because it gave me this opportunity to find myself.
You’re one of the founding Connectors at Solvasa and lead such an amazing team. What’s been the secret to your success?
At first, I actually suffered from imposter syndrome. I thought my success was just coincidental and that I didn’t know what I’d done to achieve or create this. It was only in time that I realized that it was all down to being legitimate and authentic.
People trust me because they know I am being real with them. What they see is what they get. I’m no longer a fake version of myself.
Honestly, the relationships I have with my downline are incredibly important and fulfilling for me. I don’t think they realize how much they improve my life by being in it. I’m happy to be on this journey of a start-up with them.
Being real is a major theme on your blog, Reclaimed Silence™, what does that mean for you?
I was waiting in the carpool line to pick up my kids and having a bit of a brain drain when this idea just came to me. Reclaimed silence. It just kept popping into my head for days and I finally figured it out…
I’m in my late forties and there is this great sense that there is nothing left for women my age to discover. It’s like we’ve had our careers, had our kids, settled in our role in life and that’s it. And, for a while I was stuck in this thinking until suddenly I realized, I’m not going to the grave yet, there’s still life in me and so much life left to live. Aside from a massive bucket list, I also felt this need to give back to other women in the same situations.
Growing up in a deeply religious South, the opportunities and opinions around me were limited. And as I grew up I realized I was more liberal than the ideologies around me. And, when I had my children I thought if I’m not living my true life then what am I teaching them. I wanted to be authentic. And, most importantly, I wanted them to learn empathy from a young age.
And it started this whole unpacking of how I thought about things. Questioning, do I agree with the things I was brought up with or was I just going along with it? I wanted to find my own opinion… find my voice.
Reclaim the silence.
That’s where it came from. For all the times I’ve been silent and gone along with what society expected of me, now it is my time. For all the times I haven’t spoken my own opinion, now is that time.
Reclaimed Silence. It’s such a powerful statement. How did network marketing fit into this?
Now that is a funny story! I’m a professional engineer but engineering was never my thing, my dream was to be an internationally famous reporter, I was going to be on NBC News, the Today show… but when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia for college the commute was so bad that I kept being late to my classes! So, I swapped majors to Engineering because that college was closer to home and all my roommates attended that school, too. It was never in the plans for me to study engineering. Once enrolled in the engineering program it just stuck, I guess.
I hated it and the degree was all calculus which isn’t my strength. Tears, sweat and blood went into that degree and at the end of it I continued to follow the route and got a corporate job despite still having no interest in engineering.
It was such a male-dominated industry and I felt I was competing with all these men who were gatekeeping my success but I didn’t know what else I could do. At this point, I was just following the path set out for me and not actively making decisions for my future. Before I became a mom I swore I would never be a stay-at-home mom but as soon as I had kids that changed completely. All I wanted was to stay at home with them and be the best mom I could be, but when they started kindergarten, I realized that I needed something else. Otherwise, I would just sit at home eating bon bons waiting for them to return. All kidding aside, I am a very driven person and knew there had to be something to fulfill me and give me purpose. I needed my children to see that mom could be successful and follow her dreams, too.
Enter network marketing?
Yes! A friend of mine in a similar situation told me she was joining a network marketing company and I literally said to her ‘Have you lost your mind!?’ There was no way I was going door to door to peddle products. I thought it was such a crazy, stupid idea and that I would never do it. I’m a complete introvert and just would never describe myself as a people person. In general, I’d rather be at home reading a good book or watching a movie so I really didn’t see how I could be successful in network marketing at all.
But then, FOMO hit and I signed up the night after she did.
When I did my first ever Facebook post I was so worried about what people would say but someone commented and said they wanted the product and just like that I had my first customer.
Wow! That’s amazing. Lots of people worry that being an introvert means they can’t do well in network marketing. How does it work for you?
I think that’s a common misconception (I certainly had it at first!) or at least I’ve found the key to making it successful. Introverts have this sense of credibility about them. I don’t speak up unless I’m saying something that’s important and that I believe in. It gives credibility to what I’m saying especially as I only talk about topics I know well.
So for introverts, it’s about really having that belief in yourself that when you are speaking you’re adding value. It’s also having the belief in your product and company. Without the belief, you have nothing. And, your team will also follow your lead.
Do you have lots of introverts on your team?
I do but I also have lots of extroverts. I would say though that what most of our team have in common is a similar lifestyle. I describe what I do as lifestyle marketing. I’m selling people on my lifestyle and how our products might be able to help them in the same way they’ve helped me. And then beyond that, if they’re looking for an opportunity to do more, earn a little shoe money or regain a sense of confidence in themselves I help them with that, too.
You sound like a very caring leader. What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Just go with it.
Don’t try to learn everything in the first five minutes, don’t worry about all the different programs or sit memorizing all the ingredients. Just start sharing your excitement about the opportunity.
Your excitement is what is going to grow your business; not learning about the business. That will come in time.
I think a lot of new consultants start super excited, get overwhelmed and then start saying, ‘I can’t do this!’ And that is a really difficult mindset to come back from if you haven’t even started yet.
I saw on your website Reclaimed Silence that you have a section on Enneagram Types?
Yes! Laughs. I do! And I know some people don’t like those sorts of things but genuinely I’ve never done a personality test before where I’ve felt so seen. It pegged me so dead on it felt like someone was watching me. The Enneagram is so different from other personality tests. It actually does the opposite of most. It shows how others see you instead of how you see yourself. It is a real awakening to most. I am a true Type three.
Do you ever use the Enneagram types in your business?
I do! When I get a new teammate I ask them what their Enneagram type is, and some of them do look at me a bit strangely at first, but when I explain that it will help us work better together they usually get really into it.
As a leader, I want to help my teammates play to their strengths and I want to support them when it comes to their weaknesses. For example, someone on my team is a Type 2 which is categorized as a giver, giving and helping others is their love language. But, I notice sometimes that they’re the first one to volunteer for everything and I don’t want them to take on too much for other people and the team when they should be focusing on themselves. Just knowing to look out for these things helps our team dynamics.
I love my Solvasa team because everyone is so supportive of each other in so many ways. We accept everyone no matter their background or lifestyle. I’m very proud of the diversity of our team.
Why did you choose to join Solvasa?
Lori Bush. Our amazing founder, just whatever she touches turns to gold. I feel so fortunate that I was able to join Solvasa even before it launched. I’m a founding Connector and it might seem crazy that we launched in the middle of a pandemic but actually it was perfect timing.
Solvasa is built on respect and our products are all about helping people improve their wellness and reduce their stress. I was a bit worried that I’d taken a risk, like what if we launched and no one showed up. But, there was so much initial interest which then catapulted.
For me personally, it was 100% the right decision. I battled depression and it was a lifesaver finding this business and this group of people, it brought sunshine into my life at the perfect time.
I’m so glad Solvasa came into your life at the right time. How does Solvasa support your mental health?
Definitely and I feel supported in a way I haven’t experienced before. The company culture is so supportive. There’s no drama, there’s no cliques, just a good group of people all wanting the best for one another.
Also, launching myself at this new opportunity really gave me something to focus on. The news about how covid’s affecting the world, the suffering and the ever-growing death count… it was too much and my mental health was spiralling. Solvasa gave me something to look forward to and pour my heart into.
Thank you for sharing Michelle. So, talk to me about Integrated Wellness…
I’d love to, I’m passionate about integrated wellness. It’s basically the intersection of beauty and wellness in my mind. I’m not a real girly girl and I don’t care about makeup… but I know I should be thinking about my wellness. Also, the older I get I’m starting to think I shouldn’t drink 4 Starbucks a day… but that’s another thing altogether! Is it sad that the local Starbucks actually knows my order and has it ready for me each day? I can’t believe I just admitted that.
What I love about Solvasa’s products is that for someone like me these products make me feel better and they make me look better at the same time. (It’s a win, win!) As I get older I’m really mindful about what I put in and on my body (minus the coffee). I know a healthier me is a better me. I love helping others be their best self.
Integrated Wellness is all about taking care of yourself and feeling beautiful within your own skin. We aren’t another beauty company. We are about the total package…body, mind and skin.
And how do you use Penny to run your team?
I love Penny and it’s completely changed our team. I was part of the beta testing team at Solvasa to test Penny before it rolled out to the rest of our field. It was a really great experience to learn more about the app so I was comfortable when it came to training my team.
Lucas is a hoot! And Amy is incredible. Everyone at Penny is so prompt at answering questions and getting solutions. My team does a weekly power hour utilizing Penny to do reach outs. It’s a game changer for our businesses.
There are definitely some folks in my downline, especially new team members, who are seeing way more success than they would have initially without Penny. Having that daily to-do list of things that are actually going to grow your business is so impactful. We love Penny!
That’s so amazing to hear. Thank you so much for talking to me today, is there anything else you would like to add?
Network marketing changed my life. It’s brought me a whole new level of happiness. As an introvert, I would be fine sitting at home 24/7 but this industry forces me out of my shell. (And I will admit that even as an introvert I do need socialness!)
It’s so amazing to be part of a company that accepts me for who I am. It’s the first time where people know my backstory. They know that I’m being authentically me and they know there is more to come.
Network Marketing helped Michelle discover that there was so much more life left to live. Building her business she uncovered her true potential and found her authentic self free of society's expectations.
If you’re running your own business think you could benefit from a personalized to-do list — check out Penny, the AI-powered virtual assistant that helps you build and run a successful business through repeatable, scaleable, customer-centric sales processes.
Learn more about Michelle Cochran-Wells: