Ali Zieman – Business Done Differently

Posted by Rodan + Fields on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

With the sun blazing in the sky, the asphalt burning under your feet, and the heat so thick you can feel it in your lungs, the last thing anyone wants to do is leave an air conditioned house. But, on a hot and humid day in the Midwest, a dish of some cold, creamy frozen custard is the perfect way to cool off. For a shop owner, those warm spring and summer months—when everyone is searching for a sweet, refreshing treat—are great for business. The long lines and satisfied customers are fulfilling for a business owner, but the planning that goes into operating a restaurant is much more heated than the weather itself.

As co-owners of a frozen custard restaurant in Wisconsin, Ali Zieman and her husband often sit around a table with their fellow board members, assessing finances and loans and tracking their productivity. Numbers are meticulously crunched, and business strategies are analyzed. During one such meeting, Ali had a realization: the business venture she had started on the side, six months earlier, provided a freedom that she didn’t have with the restaurant. As she compared business models, she finally understood the full potential of her other business—with a Home Office to take care of the back end of things, she was able to focus completely on building something bigger than she ever imagined possible.


Selecting the right flavor

Prior to her involvement in the frozen custard business, Ali worked as a buyer in the furniture industry for nearly seven years. In 2012, she decided to leave her career to work alongside her husband full-time. Together, they owned frozen custard restaurants in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, on top of also running a commercial real estate company. Over time, the restaurant grew from one location to three, and the list of properties that her husband managed increased as well. Ali wanted to help him, but leaving her career also meant giving up her salary and her corporate benefits.

With two kids and two businesses, Ali wasn’t actively looking for anything else to add to her plate, but after giving up her retirement and health care plans and needing to scale back on family expenses, she was open to opportunities that would provide some financial flexibility. So, a few months after leaving her job, when a former college classmate reached out to her about the Rodan + Fields® business opportunity, Ali agreed to attend a Business Presentation Event to learn more. “I knew I didn’t want to take on anything that would compromise my time with my kids, but my career change had really affected our family financially, and I thought this might be a way to earn a little extra each month.”

girls porch

Ali’s business enables her to save for her daughters’ college tuitions.

While at the event, Ali started to feel that the opportunity was something she seriously needed to pay attention to. “The ability to join a Company that was still growing was very attractive. And I knew the Doctors had built a successful business already, so there was no reason to believe that they wouldn’t do it again.” Ali was also reassured by the caliber of people she met who were already involved with the Company. She decided that she could weave the business around her family and other work responsibilities and immediately went home to tell her husband. “He was sleeping when I got home,” Ali laughs. “But, I was excited, so I woke him up and told him we were starting a third business. He, of course, looked at me like I was nuts, but once I explained the business model to him, he was actually the one who pushed me to do it.”

The first taste

Knowing that if she didn’t try, she would always wonder, Ali enrolled as an Independent Consultant in November of 2012. “Even though I was already a business owner, starting this felt out of my comfort zone because the business model was different—it was new to me. But, knowing the investment it took to start our other companies, the low startup and overhead costs with R+F made it obvious that this was an incredible opportunity.”

As Ali’s business grew, she realized that her initial goal of making a bit of extra money was more attainable than she’d anticipated. In less than one and a half years in business, she promoted six times and reached Level V in March of 2014, working 10 to 15 hours a week. “The next thing I knew, my R+F income was covering our car payments, then our mortgage, and now I’ve replaced my corporate salary! The ability to control my career like that is incredible to me. In my corporate job, it didn’t work that way. If I wanted to promote to senior buyer, I’d have to wait for someone to retire and then apply for the job. So to be able to determine how fast I want to build is very meaningful to me—especially since I didn’t come from a sales background. I was on the opposite side of the spectrum; I was a buyer. My job was to challenge salespeople!” she jokes. Although she was surprised to find herself in sales, she soon discovered that she wasn’t just good at it, but that she enjoyed it too—and it was opening up new opportunities for growth that she hadn’t had the opportunity to delve into with her other jobs.


Ali feels so fortunate for the opportunity to work with her power partner, Mandy Olson, who she grew up with.

Extra toppings

Ali didn’t imagine that she’d be growing such a large team when she first started. She focused mainly on developing a fun, collaborative team culture. “I know, firsthand, how easy it is to get wrapped up in kids and work and everything else in life. I wanted to create a community where my team could come to get away from their everyday routines, let loose and laugh. I wanted to work together with like-minded people who have big goals and to encourage everyone to have fun while still achieving great things. While doing that, the rest just fell into place, and we started developing an even bigger, stronger team dynamic.”

Ali was excited to find out just how much fun she could have with her business. She’d imagined sales to be cutthroat and competitive, but the positive culture she was able to develop with her team and the support she received from people within the R+F community made it clear that the R+F business model sparked a collaborative and encouraging environment. “The relationships are the best part—I’ve reconnected with old friends, and I’ve made some amazing new ones. My sister-in-law is also one of my business partners, and it’s made us even closer because we talk much more now.”

me and vick

Ali and her sister-in-law, Vicky Schroeder. Although they have two very different career paths and live across the state, they enjoy the chance to work their R+F businesses together as partners.

Ali is driven by the knowledge that her efforts have a direct impact on the lives of the people around her. “When I see my friends using this as a way to retire from their jobs and be with their families, I am grateful that I can be a small part of helping my team achieve their goals. In the corporate world, while I liked my career, I never felt like I was part of something big—I wasn’t impacting anyone or helping a cause. But now, I’m sharing products and an opportunity that can actually change people’s lives.”

The perfect recipe

While Ali still enjoys working her other business with her husband, she has found that the business model she was initially unfamiliar with is actually an incredibly smart way of doing business. “I love how, with R+F, all the overhead is taken care of by the Home Office. It frees me up to focus on my team and spend more time doing income-producing activity—we don’t have that luxury with our restaurants.” It has also been eye-opening to compare the expenses of each of her businesses. During the summer months, business at the restaurant peaks, but that also means the overhead goes up as well. “With R+F, the overhead always remains the same, but my income has the potential to go up based on my productivity. The restaurant has a cap, because we can only fit so many people—but there is no limit on how many people I can share R+F with.”

Selfie with Lori Bush

Ali with Lori Bush and some of her upline leaders, Jessica Dennis and Casee Meach, at the R+F Center for Leadership.

Savoring every bite

Ali’s business has also inspired her to set some time aside for herself and experience new things. She now has the opportunity to travel to various cities around the country for business events and conventions. “I’ve gone to several places I’d never been before, and that’s really exciting because it’s something I wouldn’t have normally done for myself.”

View More: http://amensonstudio.pass.us/zestys2015

Ali with her husband, Ted, at their frozen custard restaurant.

Branching out into a new field and embracing an unfamiliar business model has shown Ali the importance of facing fears. “I’m so glad I didn’t let my fear of sales hold me back. You never know if something is going to work until you give it a try. And when you get out of your comfort zone, you learn a lot about yourself, and that is where you find success. We need all types of businesses in our lives, but the R+F business model works for me, and it works well. So, why wouldn’t you give yourself the opportunity to do something different and potentially life-changing?”

The information, materials and views provided by a Rodan + Fields Independent Consultant during this presentation are her or his own and do not necessarily represent the views of Rodan + Fields. Rodan + Fields makes no representations about the accuracy of the information. The stories shared may be atypical experiences among Consultants who join the business. Actual earnings vary significantly, and no income is promised or guaranteed. Potential Consultants are urged to perform their own due diligence prior to making any decision to participate.

For information regarding earnings under the U.S. R+F Compensation Plan, see the Income Disclosure Statement.

For information regarding earnings under the Canada R+F Compensation Plan, see the Income Disclosure Statement. We estimate that in Canada the typical plan participant will earn between $1,700 and $2,000 CAD per year.



4 responses to “Ali Zieman – Business Done Differently”

  1. Awesome story and I love the ice cream analogies. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Robin Kaczka says:

    I’m so glad for your success. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Jessica Dennis says:

    I work alongside Ali and I can tell you she is not only very successful in this business, she’s fun. She excels at building a positive team culture. It’s very clear that she values the ability to combine a sense of humor with work. There’s a reason people are following her and joining her team. Congratulations, Ali!

  4. […] to her problem, and was surprised to discover the unexpected form it came in: “My sister-in-law Ali Zieman introduced me to Rodan + Fields® in 2012, showing amazing before-and-after photos that surpassed […]

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