This is a long overdue follow up to my original post about why I left ZYIA Active.
In an absurd twist of fate, it has become my most popular blog post and I’ve connected with a lot of women as they’re deciding what to do themselves.
What inspired this post?
Recently, a woman asked the following questions about how I left and I realized they are the most common questions I get about the topic.
So, unrelated to my normal blogging topic of running, here are the answers about how I left.
If you aren’t in a direct sales/MLM role, the language is going to make zero sense to you. I apologize and encourage you to read something lighter instead of this dumpster fire.
How did you tell your upline you were done?
I knew my up line personally from the corporate world; she is still a rep and does ZYIA full time. In fact, when people need things, I point them to her!
She’s a really smart woman and knew I was always a little bit skeptical to begin with. In hindsight, I was probably her biggest frustration as a people leader because I question everything.
She and I had just been to mini summit together the year prior (March 2020-, days before the world turned upside down )and I had voiced my frustrations in person about a closed model of business, where reps are actually the customers.
Other than God via prayer, I didn’t run it by anyone before making the decision to leave.
I told my Husband and web designer first, then my upline. She saw it coming. Like I said, smart woman.
At the time, I was her “elephant leg” with about 150 reps under me so, as a result of rolling up, she was getting about 25 first line reps (even though about half of them weren’t actively selling). Not a bad deal for her!
The majority of the training materials in our page were me solo or she and I, so we approached them together to retain the culture and trust.
She made it really easy for me with the team and respected my decision. I realize this isn’t the norm- most people will try to talk you out of it.
The team even made me this beautiful montage video saying goodbye and all the things they had learned from me and it was coordinated by my upline!
What about your customers?
A month before I canceled my account and after the team knew, I told my customers via email, one on one messages, on my podcast, on social media (below)…pretty much everywhere.
I asked customers not to order from me and let them know I was sticking around to honor the 30 day return and exchange policy from anyone who had bought in the last month.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t necessary to give my customer list to teammates. At that point it was Spring 2021 and all of my customers already knew like ten other ZYIA reps!
The only reason they were still shopping with me was loyalty and/or incentive programs I had in place for frequent shoppers. There is an advantage to getting in early; I was 2603 and there are now over 100K ZYIA Active reps.
Let’s be honest- I was actually probably making it less awkward for customers who have family members or next-door neighbors as reps.
Was there any backlash?
Yes, but the passive kind.
I was really good friends with women I met in this brand; I thought we were friends beyond ZYIA.
We’d text, talk on the phone, and even meet up outside of activewear related events just to hang.
Per third parties (so I’ll never know if it’s true), one of the women I was closest to has made an example of me in trainings as someone who started strong and quit.
Like, “don’t be Suzy.”
Can I be honest? It still hurts.
I know I should be angry but I’m not. I mourn the friendships but understand loyalty to the company runs deep- many of these people make 6 digits or more.
It’s their family livelihood and they are going to Mama Bear any perceived threat. I get it.
Call me naive, but I still hope we reconnect one day.
By contrast, my upline has taken up for me during some of the initial gossip.
This reminds me there are plenty of good people in direct sales, even if it’s not the place for me.
How long did it take you to make the decision to quit?
Here’s where it gets really weird.
Like an idiot, I went to another direct sales company in a direct a corporate role.
They gave me a really nice compensation package (equivalent to coming into Zyia as Presidential) but it wasn’t a good fit.
I left the second company in November 2021 officially, but only after I had a cancer scare and direct selling was at the top of my “don’t want to do” list.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
It took the thought of dying early to get me to leave.
So many people do exactly what I did: they go from company to company because think it will be better in a different brand or with a different upline or alternative product offering.
My advice is this: if it doesn’t agree with your lifestyle, just leave.
Don’t let the sunk cost fallacy get you. Consider the investment of time as a learning experience and move on!
If you struggle with this, read The Dip by Seth Godin.
Did quitting make a financial difference (good or bad)?
This isn’t going to be apples to apples.
When I left Zyia, I was netting about $1500-2000 (profit after expenses) a month.
I went back to full-time work in Summer 2021 so my salary is way better than my ZYIA paycheck ever was.
Plus, I work from home with flexibility for family, get 401K/benefits, and have so much more time freedom than I did previously.
Also, I don’t need to post about how #blessed I am to get a paycheck (wouldn’t that be hilarious on LinkedIn?!) or buy things I don’t need.
ZYIA is fast fashion and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.
Real talk: it is nice to be able to take a social media break for the weekend, a week, whatever I want.
I still use my social media account, originally created for ZYIA, for my podcast- a true passion project instead of a funnel to sell activewear.
When I meet someone I don’t have to think, “would they do well on my team?”
I’m ashamed to say it, but that’s where my mind went for almost three years!
Now, I can interact socially like a normal person. Everyone isn’t a prospect.
I’m not building relationships because it’s good for my business- it’s because I generally like people.
As another bonus, I have been able to contribute at work with a lot of the social media knowledge I gained through ZYIA.
See? No sunk cost fallacy. I’m grateful for the experience!
What was the final straw that caused you to pull the trigger?
I caught a live with a leader telling us stock issues were because “we are still a baby company- it’s so early!” and it would get better.
That was it for me.
I had been hearing that same talking point/excuse (we are a start up, just be patient and give us grace) for TWO YEARS on quality issues/defects, training resources, website, stock.
In that moment, it occurred to me I was the only one MAD because I was the only one who had stuck around to hear the exact same talking point about oh so soft hoodies, metallic leggings, florals, hot pink leggings, etc.
Everyone else blindly accepted it because they were new.
Anyone who could remember all of the exact same debacles and exact same leadership response was a millionaire dependent on people buying said excuse for their own paycheck, gone, or had their wrist slapped for questioning the response!
You know that saying:
What’s the definition of crazy? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
I can’t make the decision for you, but hopefully this gives you enough to prayerfully consider what’s next. I’m still grateful for my time at ZYIA and recognize none of the podcast stuff would have happened without it!
If you decide to stay, I hope this post has softened your heart toward people who leave the brand.
Decide to leave? Remember to take something positive from your experience.