Thriving in a Direct Sales Empire (and What to Look for in Direct Sales Opportunities)

Brooke Banks Richardson with her children

Brooke Banks Richardson with her children

Name: Brooke Banks Richardson

Business: Nerium direct sales, Regional Marketing Director at Nerium

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Brooke Banks Richardson is a brand partner with Nerium International, a skincare and wellness direct sales company. This opportunity meant she started her own Nerium business and leveraged her network to create sales and a sales team. 

Direct sales representatives flood Facebook (and other social channels) every day, but it seems that they fade as quickly as they pop up. Brooke, though, has thrived as a brand partner with Nerium and has keen insight on identifying opportunities that are right for you and your family. 

Brooke started her Nerium business in 2014 when she had an infant and was pregnant with her second child. After a scare on the road during her 100 mile daily commute she took a year-long leave from her teaching job, but her family quickly felt the financial strain of that decision. She began looking for job opportunities that would not require her to find childcare (something she could work into the margins of her life). In August 2014 she became a Nerium Brand Partner after attending a party with her sister. 

Of her rise with Nerium, Brooke says, "Within my first two days, I made enough money to buy formula for the entire month. In three weeks, I paid off my starter kit. A couple months later, the mom of two babies (who literally thought we would be clipping coupons until our fingers were bleeding) became a Lexus Earner with Nerium. It was one of the most incredible feelings of accomplishment in my life."

Brooke never returned to teaching and today she is a Regional Marketing Director with Nerium International. 

The Business Details

Hi there! You’re a consultant for Nerium, is that correct? What does that entail? 

Nerium International product line

Nerium International product line

Yes. I am what we call a Nerium Brand Partner. I love this company and this business because we are all about sharing and making people better. I simply hand product to someone, ask them to try it for five to seven days, give me their feedback, and follow up! 


Is your entrepreneurial role full-time or part-time? 

What is wonderful about working with Nerium is that I can work full time around my family’s life. This is the perfect job for me because I set my own hours. I work it into the gaps of life. I schedule time to be an entrepreneur and I schedule time to be a mom. I do consider myself a full-time mom however, because let's face it, it’s a 24/7 job. 


Are you a solo mompreneur or do you employ a team? Tell me about the business structure.

I have an incredible team of men and women who come from all sorts of backgrounds, around the country and internationally. This business model is great because it’s not all about who you know, but it’s who your friends know. The relationships I have created here are pretty special. 


What in your background prepared you for this business? 

I worked in banking and managed a business and then I went into teaching. To be honest, though, I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing when I started with Nerium. I realized I was very coachable. 

Brooke with her husband, Josh, on a Nerium retreat in Mexico (October 2017)

Brooke with her husband, Josh, on a Nerium retreat in Mexico (October 2017)

What’s the vision for your business? Where have you been and how does your vision guide where you’re going? 

I got started to simply make a couple hundred dollars a month to help our family get by. Now it has become so much more.

I have a passion to help other potential brand partners see what Nerium International can provide to them. This model helps entrepreneurial people not only financially, but it also gives them confidence in themselves. The model guides people and gives them the same servant leadership I was given. 


Where do you work from most of the time?

The beauty about my business is, I can work from anywhere! As long as I have my phone or computer to share information with, I can do Nerium. Starbucks is my second home. I enjoy leaving my house and working where I can enjoy some fresh coffee.   


So, how’s your business doing? Are you happy with it’s success/progress/state? 

Business is great! This year we entered into the health and wellness space, and I was traveling to grow an international team in 2017. I couldn’t ask for a more exciting time! I am so excited for what Nerium has in store next year.


We’ve all seen the memes: real life vs. Pinterest life. What’s one “Pinterest idea” or false impression others have about your work/life/business experience?

I have had people tell me, “I can’t travel like you travel.” They see the glamorous Nerium trips I post on Facebook. This is just a small part of what I do within my business. I love traveling! I have teammates all over the country (along with a supportive husband who is willing to play Mr. Mom for a few days) and it allows me the freedom to travel and explore new places.

My full-time job, though, is being a mom and a wife. I don’t think people see what's really happening: there are a lot of diaper changes and stepping on toys in my house.

The Mom Details

Tell me about your mom life.

Brooke's son and daughter are 15 months apart

Brooke's son and daughter are 15 months apart

I was blessed with a son in January 2013 and six months later, found out I was pregnant with our second child. My daughter was born in April 2014. My life felt like it was spiraling out of control with babies! But, I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. My kids are my everything. They are best friends and I love watching them love each other (in between all the fighting). 


How does being a mom impacted your business vision?

We all want what is best for our children. I love and care about my teammates in a very motherly way. I want them to be successful. I want to help them stand back up when they fall. I care about their future here and as a mom we always want what's best for our kids, I feel the same way about my teammates. 


How have your work habits changed as your kids grow? 

When the kids were babies, they took naps! I was a tired mom so I would nap with them. At the time, my business only required 20-30 minutes of my day. Now they’re older, refuse naps, and I have to schedule quiet work time. The work time, though, is much more productive now and I get to have fun with them when I’m not working. 


When people ask you, “how do you do it all?” what do you say? 

I don’t! I schedule my time and I have balance. 


Tell me about your childcare arrangements? How do you balance work and mom life? Who helps you out? 

I feel blessed that I am able to send the kids to preschool. It is wonderful! They love it and I love the break and time to focus on my business. I also have a childhood friend who allows me to drop the kids off when I need to.  Her son and my son are best friends! 

Bringing it All Together

Brooke Banks Richardson and family

Brooke Banks Richardson and family

If you could go back and talk to yourself the month before you became pregnant with your first child, what would you tell yourself about how “things” would turn out? 

I would say to myself, “Put your phone down, live in the moment, love hard, stay consistent, focus on what is important, and dream bigger dreams!


What are some financial lessons learned that you’d offer up to other mompreneurs?

Just like any other entrepreneur your business will have its ups and downs. It’s not all about how much money you make. It’s about enjoying the journey. Being consistent, persistent, having faith in what you are doing, and helping others along the way is much more valuable than any paycheck you will receive. 


How do you recharge and keep your personal energy up when you’re running a business and raising little ones?

I find that prayer, personal development and pampering allows me to have a clear mind. It makes me a better, happier mom. If I want to give my kids the best version of me, I have to create the best version of me.


What do you know now as a mompreneur that you wish you’d known "way back when"?

Life is hard. Success is hard. Choose your hard. 


Brooke (right) on a recent Europe trip with Nerium

Brooke (right) on a recent Europe trip with Nerium

What advice would you give to fellow mompreneurs thinking about direct sales opportunities? 

Don’t jump into something because it’s the newest fad. [In direct sales opportunities] know what the products are. Who the target market is. What type of people do they attract? What are the companies values and do they align with your own? Do your research. Learn the compensation plan and compare it with others. If a company requires you to spend more than your water bill each month, stay away! You are doing this business to make money. Not break even or lose money.