Elizabeth Guess. Million Dollar Circle & RFx Circle Achiever
Before I introduce Elizabeth, I have to share a little about how we know each other. Elizabeth and I graduated from the same high school, and about 10 years later reconnected at a Networking Event. At the time I was working in Advertising, and Elizabeth was a stay at home mom, who had just started her business with a skincare brand that chose the direct selling channel. It was April of 2011. She was excited and eager to share her business with others, and very excited about the future she saw in her company. I will never forget that day. At the time, I wasn’t interested in learning more and I never imagined myself in direct sales. We connected on Facebook and I began to watch her business grow. Fast forward about 18 months, I had just had my first daughter and had decided to leave my full time job to be at home. I had been curiously watching Elizabeth’s business and saw she was having a blast with it. I decided to join her and had no idea the crazy and fun ride we’d be on.
Elizabeth’s story is incredibly inspiring. In 2011, she decided to start a business to earn a little extra income to sponsor more orphans in Africa. In 2014, a few months before she celebrated 3 years in business, she hit the highest milestone in her company- Million Dollar Circle Achiever. Today, 4 years after taking the leap she and her husband Taylor, lead The Guess Group, a team of thousands of business owners. They give back in ways they couldn’t imagine 5 years ago. What I love most about Elizabeth, is how much she serves everyone in her life. She inspires me in so many ways. More than the title she holds, or the monetary success she has had. I am inspired by the wife, she is. By the mother she is. By the friend she is. By the woman she is. She is a gift in my life. xoxo- Lisa
1. Tell us what motivated you to start your own business in the Direct Selling Industry.
I was definitely not looking to start a business in the direct selling channel. The way that I had been approached in the past about “these kinds of companies” turned me off. A friend introduced me to my company, and she didn’t shove it down my throat and make it all about what it would mean for her. She made it about the power in the products and what partnering with this brand would mean. She shared this in a “you probably don’t even understand the magnitude of what this is- partnering with the world renowned doctors that created Proactiv- and where this company is headed, but just trust me on this.” When I learned it wasn’t a company based on home parties and I could run a virtual franchise, I thought…YES! I can completely control how I work and when I work and fit this around my lifestyle and kids etc…
2. When you started your business did you have any idea you would have reached the level of success you are at today? When did you realize that your decision to try something new would forever change your family’s financial future?
I started this as a way to sponsor more orphans in Africa as cliche as that sounds. It is important for my children to have a global world view and be a part of more than the bubble in which we live. Being successful was not something I knew would happen, it was a decision I made. I was going to do this. I was going to give my best, persevere it would work in my favor as long as I put in the activity consistently and gave it some time. I made it all about what the products were doing for skin and not about me. People wanted the amazing results and then made the incredibly smart decision to represent the products as well to earn an income. Hitting the company’s “Million Dollar Circle” in under 3 years was no where in my realm of thinking.
3. What people in your life have helped you become who you are today? The good and the bad?
My parents are amazing. My father modeled the importance of hard work, and being disciplined. He also modeled sacrifice. We learned early that if and when we disrespected others, there would be consequences…and disrespect for my mother would not be tolerated. One of the things I appreciate most about my father is that he put family first. He is a brilliant man and has been a professor at the University of Texas since before I was born. He loves his research and works tirelessly, but he never missed a game, meet, performance for all 4 of his children. He was there for dinner. He was there on the weekends. Our family was his first priority. I see so many men now having the thought of “quality vs quantity time.” Ie: I might miss all the family dinners, and never tuck my kids in, but because of my hard work we’ll go on a great family vacay once a year and I’ll be all in. I am so thankful that wasn’t the case in our home. Quantity of time was most important, and because of that, we really knew each other and had a closeness. My mother influenced me greatly and I realize that more and more now that I am a mother. My parents are givers. We had an open door policy in our home. You never knew who would be in our home around our dinner table celebrating Easter, Thanksgiving etc… If you didn’t have a place to go…you were included in our family. My parents heavily supported a lot of missionaries and faithfully gave to their church first before anything. Because of this resolve, we did not have fancy stuff. We did not have new cars or the latest bicycles or tennis shoes. My mother would say, “deprivation is good for the soul” meaning we would not and should not get everything we wanted. Because of that, we were really grateful for what we did have. She did not shower us with compliments, but consistently reinforced the truth that we were not the sum of our gifts, skillsets, performances etc… we were completely whole and important because we are God’s children and to put our security there. EVERYTHING else could be taken from us. Our looks, youth, abilities can all be damaged thru circumstances. Happens all the time thru different tragedies life throws at us. My mom taught us the dangers of money and getting caught up in “societal life” but that we should be in service of others. My parents held us accountable, and did not turn a blind eye when they could have. They made it clear they were our parents and not our friends. And they made certain we did not have a child-centric home- something that is overwhelming the norm these days. Their marriage came first. I could go on and on about them. They were everything and more that parents should be. We felt loved, safe and secure.
Lastly, my husband, Taylor is one of a kind. Truly. I wish all my friends had husbands like him. I think that all the time. He has influenced my life heavily just through who he is and the example he sets. Taylor is a very hard worker. He is incredibly bright and gifted. He is also a really great and loyal friend. Taylor, like my father, puts us first. He carves out time every day to play with the kids. He serves the family. He is FUNNY, and makes our home alive and exciting. Our home is filled with music, and company. He is an incredible mixologist, so hes always toying with new cocktails which is fun. Taylor and I have great communication. We forgive quickly and we move forward. Taylor leads our family well. He prays for us and speaks truth into the children. In the ten years that we have been married, opportunities have come up with his businesses where Taylor could cut corners, or do something unethical which would have been easy. He always made the right decision which sometimes meant less money or more work for him. I admire this greatly in Taylor. He is completely confident in who he is, and is obviously a sexy beast.
4. What I love about your story is its very relatable to a lot of women. You are a former teacher, turned mom, turned homemaker. You wanted to have something for yourself, make some extra income, and give back. You had NO experience in direct selling. Today you are one of the top leaders within your company and you lead a team of thousands. So many women can relate to your background. What advice do you have to women who are thinking/curious/or want to start their own business.
DO IT! I am all about taking calculated risks. Find a need…find a demand of some sort. What are people looking for or need? Then find something that is a consumable good…ie something that people will continually use on an ongoing basis (think toothpaste- when people run out of it…they don’t stop brushing their teeth). CONTRARY to popular belief, you don’t have to be passionate about the good either… I am not passionate about skin care, but I am passionate about what this business is doing to change SO many lives in different ways. Then be ready to fail forward. You can not succeed without facing a lot of stumbling blocks and failure along that journey. Whatever you do, you will face rejection on some level. Not EVERYONE is going to respond with enthusiasm the first time you share your business with them, and that is a part of the process. It is good for you to learn that you can’t be loved by all and you will receive negativity and push backs and missed goals etc… in your journey. Persevere any way.
5. How do you manage a thriving business and balanced home life with your family?
I believe in setting boundaries. I decided when I started this I would commit to 15 hours a week. Since there are 168 hours in every week, that meant that I would commit to 8% of my time each week to this. I have not deviate from that… Because I chose a conversational business, that means that work for me is sharing this in conversation with everyone just like how I share the great shoes I bought or movie I just saw. We live in a referral giving world. Constantly sharing with others what we love, what we discover, what we believe in, what great things we experience so others can too. We do that on the go, at lunch with friends, over the phone etc… so I am able to build a growing thriving business all on my terms. Its really an unbelievable thing.
6. What is the greatest reward in your work? What drives you?
What drives me are the stories that are coming out of the Guess Group (my team) of lives being changed…and not just financially. People are maximizing their potential finding out things about themselves, stretching themselves, refining themselves in ways they would not if not for being a part of this. The financial gain is obviously the most obvious. Debt is being paid off, private school is being funded, kid’s college is being paid for, family vacations are being allowed for, giving back in incredible ways that wouldn’t have been done before, stress from hard working spouse’s is being reduced freeing up more time for family. And it is just plain fun to hit goals, walk the stage, earn some trips and accomplish things that you didn’t know you could do. But those are bonuses for us.
7. Has there ever been a moment when you doubted yourself or felt like quitting? How did you work through that?
Completely. I had been in the business about 5-6 months and was spinning my wheels. My paycheck was not as awesome as I thought I deserved, and I wasn’t sure what the future held. But I also believe there is no easy money…and if I was going to make this work, I needed to continue to put in the activity even when the results were not there. So I did. I kept going and am SO glad that I did. If I had quit there would be no amazing Guess Group stories, lives changing thru this business.
8. What is your idea of Beauty? How has it evolved as you’ve gotten older?
Beauty -and class for that matter- is confident kindness. I recently attended a societal function attracting the upper crust of Austin. See, be seen, and oh yeah…lastly in importance your ticket goes toward something philanthropic but whatever…was kind of the gist of the event. I did not know a soul and not a soul was interested in getting to know me. I tried making friends, small chat etc… nothing. It was very clear from the beginning that I was an outsider. It was one of the most bizarre experiences. All these very insecure women who had NOTHING to say about anything. They came across as shallow. And they were sooooooooo boring. As the presentation ensued, very few people even paid attention to the topic at hand. They talked rudely over the speaker. It was a great experiment in human behavior. After I realized what kind of event this would be, I just sat back and observed. The self absorption was suffocating. I had to be careful not to judge, and focus on how sorry I felt for these women who seemed so empty. In their minds, they are beautiful and classy and have it all and all together and everyone should want what they have. But they lacked kindness, compassion and confidence. And I was so thankful to be me. Beauty is having the confidence enough to love others abundantly, accept others who cant do anything for you. Beauty is opening your life to others who can not benefit you. Beauty is befriending the people that society says don’t belong…and not as a service project, but actually as a friend. Beauty is serving others. Beauty is inviting people in. Beauty is inclusion. Beauty is forgiveness and grace. Beauty is edifying and building up others. Praising them genuinely. Seeking out their strengths and ways in which you appreciate them and telling them. If you are not confident in God’s love for you and who you are thru His eyes alone, you will never have the confidence all of the above takes.
9. What are the 3 products you can’t leave the house without?
R+F products or products in general? For R+F products, definitely the lip renewing serum, lip shield with spf, and mineral peptide powder with spf. I dont always want to put sunscreen on over my makeup, so the peptide powder which is a peptide treatment with spf in the form of a powder is perfect for any occasion. Non R+F products, I have to have minty gum.
10.Being a mother to a daughter, how will you teach her about self confidence as she goes through life?
The same way my mother did. By not putting their worth in their performance, looks or what they bring to the table. As I tuck them in each night, I always say in each of their ears, “Mommy and Daddy love you like crazy. No matter what you do, what bad choices you made today, no matter what discipline we had to give you. We couldn’t love you more and you couldn’t do anything to make us love you less. We love you completely… And remember, you are God’s child first.” I desire they put their hope in the one thing that can’t be taken from them. We see it all the time. A house fire burns someone badly leaving them with terrible deformities. A car accident causes limbs to be lost, paralyzation, IQ to go down. Father time takes those perky breasts and tight body and does a number on you. Chemo takes those luscious locks. You don’t get the job, you don’t make the grades, some guy breaks your heart… EVERYTHING is up for grabs in this life…anything can be taken from you at any given moment…except your relationship with God. I want to teach them to cling tightly to that. We talk a lot in our family about what is going on out there… in the real world… and we try to make a dent with our love and resources. Our kids know that we are going to share what we have with open arms and open hands even when it isn’t easy, even when it puts us out, even when we aren’t in the mood or it is inconvenient. Taylor and I have very similar strengths, and one of those is that we are both uniquely audacious. We strive to be bold and have courage. We desire this for our children as well. Confident kindness is one of the most important things we can instill in our kids. .