It’s a Thursday afternoon. I’m wrapping up at my full-time job and texting tonight’s host to let her know how pumped I am to come teach a card class at her house in a few hours.
After I tie up some loose ends and log off my work email account, I’m looking through my card class checklist. I’ll get the supplies and tools I need, pack them into my car, and head out soon so I can help my host and her four guests create the cards I’ve designed using fantastic CM tools and papers.
I think I’ll make a few sales at this card class tonight, but I’m not too worried about it. The fact that I don’t have to meet a minimum sales requirement as a CM Independent Advisor takes a lot of the pressure off! I’ve ordered what I need and what I know I’ll sell (mostly the components for my card class) and then I’ll share my website link so people can buy from me and have their items shipped straight to them.
At the class, I’m getting to know some new people and catching up with an old friend over scrapbook paper and a Corner Rounder. My chatty students will probably only finish half the cards tonight, but that’s ok. I’ve put together instructions that they can follow on their own if there are any cards they need to put together later, and they have my phone number in case they need to use one of my tools or ask a question.
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Even though I was initially drawn to CM because of the high quality of its albums and—let’s be honest, here—the discount CM Independent Advisors get, teaching card classes has become one of my favorite ways to connect with people. I get to spend my free time researching (the CM blog or Pinterest boards are great resources) and experimenting and then putting together what I think are the best cards using my favorite CM products and tools. Later I share my designs with “students” who can chat, try out some CM tools, and assemble their cards in a low-key setting. I find that many people are less intimidated by card making than they are by scrapbooking, so it’s a great way to introduce them to CM without making it overwhelming.
Besides my own albums and other projects just for fun, I’m “working” with CM an average of about 5 hours a week. Sometimes I set up a booth at a local craft fair or boutique, and I do host a monthly crop in my home, but my main CM activity is the card class.
I’ve made being an Independent CM Advisor into something that fits into my life and feels comfortable for me, and I’m glad that CM doesn’t push me to be something I’m not or to drive a hard sale for products I don’t love. (I really do love CM products, and that’s why I’ve been so loyal to the brand for so long, even when I wasn’t an advisor!)
I talked with a few other advisors recently to find out what they do, and I was happy to see that lots of very different people approach this in different but equally successful and fulfilling ways—everything from personal use (just signing up to order your own stuff at a discount and get access to the great support that’s available for advisors) to full-time work. Some advisors told me about their weekly summer kids’ camps and semester-long classes they teach as continuing education, and others told me they really just like being able to order first and play with all the new tools as they become available. Lots of them host crops and other scrapbooking events where crafters can gather and work on their projects together.
Here’s a “snapshot” of some different approaches to being a CM Independent Advisor:
Name: Diana Brinsley
Location: Lancaster, California
Main activity as an Independent CM Advisor: Self-hosted parties and regular crops in my home
My best advice for new advisors: Create at least one F2F album to show people who don’t have time to scrapbook. And when you are finished with that, try one of our multi-pocket albums. Both are great alternatives to traditional scrapbooking for people who are strapped for time.
Name: Lisa Graham
Location: Westland, Michigan
Main activity as an Independent CM Advisor: Weekend retreats and day crops
What I’d wish I knew earlier about being an advisor: On the business side, I wish I’d have been told not to get hung up on the selling side of things and to instead concentrate on simply sharing. Fortunately, I’ve found that when you share what you love the sales usually follow. On a personal side, I had no clue about what a wonderful community I was joining (including both advisors & scrapbookers). I’ve met some of the most supportive, caring, creative people thanks to CM, both in real life and virtually.
My best advice for new advisors: Become familiar with the entire product line and put together a traditional album as well as a F2F album. Nothing beats hands on experience to share with others!
Name: Fran Smitherman
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Main activity as an Independent CM Advisor: Workshops and retreats
If I had it to do all over again . . . I would tell myself not to compare myself to others in home based business because I was doing my business my way, and whether I had 20 or 200 regular customers and 1 or 100 downline, I was providing a service that impacted their lives in a meaningful way. I would also tell myself that I had made a very good choice to sign up, even if I did have a full time career and years of studying for the CFA ahead of me!
My best advice for new advisors: Make the most of your discount and make as many albums as you can because your joy from your own sense of completion will shine through! Be organized, be genuine, be helpful, and make sure to invest some of your profits back into your business.
Name: Julie Tambrini
Location: Currently moving from Madagascar to Virginia; formerly from Chicago
Main activity as an Independent CM Advisor: One-on-one scrapbooking instruction and online sales
I wish someone had told me earlier . . . not everyone will be as excited about CM products as I am! But don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm.
My best advice for new advisors: Work on your own albums, projects, and ideas, and then show everyone so they can see how easy it is. Don’t scare them away—offer to help them get started and keep things simple. Sometimes they need help organizing a project. It can feel very overwhelming. I tell people to start small—make an album of one vacation, a big birthday party, or other single event. Once you get going, things go faster.
Name: Stefani Jones (that’s me!)
Location: Bountiful, Utah
Main activity as an Independent CM Advisor: Teaching card classes
I wish someone had told me earlier . . . there really isn’t a “right” way to connect to CM—instead of spending time looking for “answers” spend time exploring possibilities! You really can make it what you want and need it to be for YOU!
My best advice for new advisors: Don’t take it personally when people turn you down, whether you’re asking them to host a party, join your team, or try a product. Just keep focusing on the things you love about CM and share that passion with the people around you.
I hope from this small sample you can see that there are many ways to be an advisor, and whether you’re looking for a leader to work with, a coach who can guide you, a friend to chat with, or just someone to answer your questions about a CM product, there are lots of folks ready to connect with you! Find an advisor near you on the CM website.