Two years ago my husband was laid-off from his job with the city. It was a job he’d worked for 18 years, and once he was “let go” we lost the only form of income we had to support our three children and my mother-in-law.

Armed with excellent references he set out to find another job. Neither of us had any doubts that he would secure employment quickly, so there was no need to worry…he had an impeccable work ethic and many years of experience starting from the bottom and working his way up to a management position.

That was when the startling realization hit us…that none of it seemed to matter. He was in his early 40’s and many employers regarded him as someone over-the-hill or at-risk of injury for the hands-on, heavy lifting he’d routinely worked. It didn’t matter that he passed health screenings with flying colors or participated in 5K and 10K fundraiser runs every year.

Caring for an elderly parent, the expenses of a 3 year old, 8 year old and 16 year old, our savings was depleting quickly. We had to decrease our spending and forego annual vacations. As a stay-at-home-mom, I hadn’t worked outside the home for 16 years, but I began to seek part-time employment to make ends meet while my husband submitted resumes online and frequently visited the employment office to find opportunities. Temp agencies would have positions for short-term work with wages less than half of what my husband made in his previous job…and that was without insurance benefits.

I spent sleepless nights in prayer and days wishing and hoping for a miracle. Then, one afternoon, while standing in the checkout line, I overheard a conversation that got my attention. A middle-aged couple was celebrating a trip to Mexico that they’d earned through their business. I wasn’t exactly sure what business they were in, at the time, but I was briefly whisked away from concern and the tight grip on my coupon wallet to the vivid memories of vacationing with my husband and children. Smiling at these happy people I just instinctively said, “Congratulations!” It came out of nowhere. Though I didn’t know them I was genuinely happy for them, and for the moment I forgot my troubles at home.

That’s when the conversation sparked. They eagerly told me about their plans and how none of it would have been possible without this side business they worked part-time…between jobs as a retail sales associate and a truck driver. The lady had just earned a $500 monthly car bonus….a Lexus bonus, to be exact, which got my undivided attention!

We exchanged information and they shared a short video with me. Later that evening I told my husband what happened and convinced him to watch the video, too. He was skeptical and so was I, to be honest, but “What choice did we have?”, I thought.

The following day I was contacted by the kind folks who’d shared the opportunity with me, and we met them for coffee. I think it was my husband who was most surprised. Here was this burly, truck driver sitting down to discuss this side-gig of anti-aging, wellness products and the opportunity that pulled them out of poverty and scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck. My husband decided, if this bear of a man could invest in this home-based business on the side and make enough money to replace his income as a full-time truck driver, that he could also use the same system to pull our family from the brink of poverty.

Being in business for ourselves seemed like a risky gamble to some of our well meaning family and friends. Conditioned that earning money meant working a traditional 40-hour work week for someone else, they didn’t know how to offer support or encouragement. That was probably the most challenging part of embarking on the journey. Their opinions weren’t going to pay our bills and provide for our children. You know, poverty comes in many forms…closed-mindedness is a form of poverty, as I grew to understand. I also felt that, like us, they would eventually warm to the idea. We got past the naysayers and being outside our comfort zones and made the decision to go for it!

We followed a simple system. That’s it.

Fast forward to the present day. We are living! Living like we never lived before…not living to work, but actually balancing our working lives around our family. We take vacations, we take time-off when we want to, we take NAPS in the middle of the day! (bliss) We’ve met and continue to meet the most wonderful people who have similar stories to ours. We’ve met professionals with law degrees and doctorates from wealthy backgrounds that CHOOSE this industry over the monotonous, uninspiring grind of Corporate America. We’ve met people who had the rug pulled out from under them only to come back better than ever!

In this industry there is no rug! I used to think we had a great life with my husband working 50 hours a week, but home in time for supper. Now I KNOW what we were missing because life is so much bigger than existing in a box and living by the clock of someone else’s timeline. We are truly living in prosperity, now. There is no more scraping for money or time with our family and friends. We’ve been able to lift the veil of strife and share the opportunity with our neighbors, family, friends and people who are put in our path.

This business model has made all the difference for our family, but knowing it is much bigger than us…that we are truly making the world a better place for other families who are looking for a better way to balance their lives…means that I am passing on a legacy of hope to generations of individuals who will do the same. That’s a lot of happiness and empowerment to pass on and it has showed me that prosperity is always within reach when you stay open-minded.

If my story resonates with you or people you know, I urge you to reach out and see another side of prosperity that you might not have considered before. Taking a leap of faith, quietening the voice of why it can’t be done and not overthinking are the keys that opened a door to a life I never knew I could create. I only thought I was dreaming big, but this is so much bigger than anything I imagined! ~ Maria