Jenna Marzullo: My Viridian Journey, and the lessons I learned along the way.
I have experienced quite a lot over the years as the first Viridian Associate. I have been asked many questions about my experience with the business and how I was able to reach the position I am in today. Viridian has given me so much in life, and I want to be able to give the gift of perspective by telling my story and recounting my journey thus far. So, here we go…
My introduction to Viridian began in August of 2009. At the time my business partner Kat and I owned two holistic centers—one in Winsted, CT and one in Torrington, Connecticut—located in the northwest corner of the state. At the time the economy had just taken a severe blow and our businesses had felt the effects. People simply couldn’t afford holistic services, which were considered “luxury” services during such a time of economic disorder.We quickly realized we had to put our noses to the grindstone and begin looking for other work to financially sustain ourselves. I loved what I did but the economy could not support that particular industry at that particular time.
Still,we had hopes of expanding our holistic services to include online classes. As such, our initial intention was to look for part time jobs. I told myself that I would not look for anything that would take my focus away from my holistic centers. I had no idea the amazing opportunity with Viridian that was waiting for me shortly down the road.
I’ll never forget the day that I was introduced to that opportunity because it was one of my friend’s birthdays: August 12. I woke up that morning in 2009 and, coffee in hand, decided to search for some jobs online. I figured it couldn’t hurt to look for a waitressing or housecleaning job to make some extra summer cash while we were working towards building our online holistic program. It was then I stumbled upon an advertisement that read, “Renewable energy company seeking short-term salesperson.” For me the advertisement aligned with my priorities at the time. The phrase “renewable energy” caught my attention and the short-term duration was just what I was looking for. I called immediately.
Six days later, on a very hot August 18, Viridian CEO Michael Fallquist and a colleague visited Kat and I at one of our holistic centers. We went out to lunch and it was during that meeting that I 100 percent realized that Viridian was for me. Michael explained his vision, what he planned to do in the future and why Viridian was born and, in doing so, I recognized something in him; there was no doubt in my mind how revolutionary his ideas were. It was a calling, there is really no other way to describe it.
I left that lunch knowing that no matter what this company was going to be doing, I was going to be doing it with them. It was that lunch that led me to attend the very first Viridian direct selling meeting at the Omni Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut about one month later. At the time Viridian only had 250 customers, if you can believe it!
During that meeting the event leader said something I’ll never forget: “We are about to do something great.” At that moment I felt body chills, from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. The feeling that I got was so powerful. I just knew that I was at the right place at the right time for myself.
After that first meeting Kat, my family and some close friends dedicated ourselves to hosting weekly team meetings. The first of those meetings were at one of our holistic centers for whoever might be interested in joining us on this mission. Our first meeting had 10 attendees, our following had 60 and shortly after we had to rent out a banquet hall to begin conducting the meetings. From there, the rest is history.
But that’s not where the story ends (wouldn’t it be lovely if it did?). I would be remiss to not share the very real hardships that came along the way throughout my Viridian journey. For starters, being in the first lines of direct selling was very difficult. I watched a lot of people leave because they drew a line in the sand and told themselves they could not cross it—that THIS was the reason to quit. That line can be different for everyone but there comes a time when you have to decide if an obstacle is worth moving past. For instance, I watched many people leave because, at the time, Viridian did not offer fixed rates and they were unsure of how to sell only variable. But alas, then Viridian’s fixed rate plan was introduced and those individuals unfortunately weren’t there to see it. There are many other similar situations I have witnessed and each time I asked myself, “Is this worth overcoming?” The answer was always a resounding YES!
It became clear early on that the only way you can lose in this industry is if you quit. The only way you will be unsuccessful is if you choose to stop. There was one thing that enabled me to continually push forward and improve—what I consider to be the common denominator of the most highly successful Viridian Associates: a strong personal mindset, or what I call mental toughness.
In my opinion, this is the single thing that matters most in this industry. Starting out, I had no network marketing background or skills; it was the wild west. I was doing presentations on napkins, we had no marketing materials and I was doing the majority of my team building before anyone had ever gotten paid. My journey with Viridian wasn’t always perfect, but it never took me down (at least I never allowed it to for more than a few hours before I was back up). I knew what I needed to do to mentally get back on track, whether that meant calling someone for support, taking a walk, hiking it out or reading something positive.
Having a mindset of personal growth and development enabled me to move through obstacles, identify triggers and grow both mentally and spiritually. Things weren’t always sunshine and rainbows for me. I was not always in the best place mentally; I was combating bankruptcy, having taken out loans for the holistic centers, and times were difficult. But even then I had to believe in myself, my team and what we were doing. I had to look at the bright side of things and not get lost in my circumstances. Rather than letting those challenges or circumstances define me, I allowed them to refine me.
I went into this journey expecting obstacles but considered them growth opportunities. My team and I were no exception to those “line in the sand” moments. We simply refused to let ourselves be dictated by them. Instead, we chose to perceive those moments as things that we could use to make ourselves stronger.
At the end of the day, I always strove to first and foremost be solution-oriented and to remember what myself and my team were working towards. I remembered to keep a healthy mindset of what I could and could not control. For instance, you cannot control what happens outside of yourself: the weather, the traffic or, for us, rates. The one thing you do have control over, however, is your reaction to those things, and that’s where the mental toughness kicks in. It’s about remembering that life is your perception of it. If you take an object and look at it from all sides, you’ll be able to view it from multiple angles, perceiving it in innovative new ways.
Looking back now we indeed started, and are continuing, to do something great.