Janet McElligott: Negotiating a Successful Business as a Solopreneur

Posted by on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Janet McElligott is best described as a force of nature. A strong person with a bold personality, she is not the type of woman to sit idly by until she is called to action. Her fortitude and expertise as a political advisor made her the first female in history to advise an Arab head of state, and she continues to advise on hostage situations and serves as an unofficial liaison between the Catholic Church of Sudan and the Sudanese government. Janet has lived in China twice, and throughout her career she has spent years in Cairo and Sudan. She is considered a leading expert on China, Africa, and the Middle East, and currently lives in Washington D.C. Her resume is lengthy, and includes founding her own company, McElligott Associates, where she leads a team of political strategists and consults in international business. In 2011, Janet discovered a kind of consulting work very different from her appointment as a foreign agent.

Janet McElligott

Janet’s story begins in New York’s Little Italy, where on a mild September day Janet sat over lunch with her brother and her sister, Patty.  A mutual friend had brought up  the business opportunity with Rodan + Fields, and Janet recalls complaining to her siblings about their friend’s persistence. She relates,

“As the three of us sat there, my sister, Patty, who had flown in from Miami said, “You are an idiot. Give me her number, cause I’m going to do this.” I looked at her and said, “She didn’t ask you. And you don’t even know what this is. Patty looked at her watch and said, “You have 24 hours.  Cause if you don’t think I can get that number, think again.”

Janet McElligott

Sibling rivalry got the better of Janet that day, and in her natural competitive spirit, Janet quickly realized that she didn’t want her sister to upstage her. “Letting my sister outshine me just wasn’t going to work for me. I’m very goal oriented,” she chuckles. She immediately signed up to be an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields, and the next day signed up her sister as a part of her team. From there, she has since promoted to the title of Level V Executive Consultant.

When asked what it was like to start doing something so remote from her career in politics, Janet answered that it had its challenges in the beginning. Emphatically, she said, “It was wretched! I’m used to dealing with soldiers. I’ve been dealing with mostly men for the last thirty years, because you don’t meet many women in foreign affairs. I just didn’t have a kinder, gentler side,” she laughed. Janet explains that she had to develop as a person as a consequence of this business, and in her own words, “I had to really develop and figure out that estrogen is not such a bad thing.”

When you’re used to dealing with facts and figures as opposed to emotional psychology, it changes how you approach situations. In the world Janet was used to dealing with, she had to be right, she didn’t have to be thoughtful. She compares her political work and her career with Rodan + Fields as a transition from the hard reality of life to a softer reality of life. In her Rodan + Fields business, she says she really had to learn to listen to what’s bothering people. In this business, the emotional element runs deep. Women are very concerned about their appearance, and your face is your calling card. For Janet, understanding how people feel about the face they show to the world meant she had to shift her view. “In my world, scars on your face are marks of battle. They are badges of honor, not something to cover up,” she explains. “Vanity is not a part of life in a war zone.”

Janet McElligott

Janet has seen her fair share of war zones and is still called to negotiate hostage situations. “I have had machine guns pointed at my head more times than I can even remember,” she relates. “It’s not an enviable position to be in. Being a Level V Leader (with Rodan + Fields), on the other hand, that is an enviable position to be in. And it’s also an attainable one.” She enjoys the calm nature of her work with Rodan + Fields and the fact that she is doing something people can relate to, and that she can share with them.

“I’m happy to have put on a different pair of glasses and see all the little things I didn’t think I cared about. It has made me a better person, and I like that. Before I was so busy out in the world doing big things, that I didn’t see all the little things that matter just as much. There are people who are lost, who think they are only someone’s mother or someone’s wife. This business gives them a chance to get out there and start doing something of their own.”

She says her biggest motivator in this business is the legacy she will leave behind. Helping women find a new way to see themselves is just as important as creating a win-win situation in a hostage crisis, but on a different level. She quotes, “It took me some time to understand that I’m still impacting lives, but now in a very different way.”

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.



8 responses to “Janet McElligott: Negotiating a Successful Business as a Solopreneur”

  1. Thank you for sharing your very interesting story . Aside from the transformative skincare and residual income, Rodan+Fields attracts some of the most interesting people that I would otherwise have never met.
    Suzanne Flynn

  2. Morgan Shine says:

    Great job Aunt Janet!

  3. Kimberly Burton says:

    Wow Janet!! You’re both impressive and inspirational!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sara Dwyer says:

    Thank you for sharing!
    I live in a community steeped with a military history, and home to a very large military community, I do business with the gov’t., military, defense industry, etc.; hearing your story was a great learning experience in approaching these groups. Looking forward to meeting you in Nashville!

  5. Bridgette Loughnane says:

    Janet- I am so proud of what you have accomplished! It goes to show that Rodan + Fields is for so many people, with very diverse backgrounds! I can’t do do what you do and perhaps have four kids isn’t something you’d do. But we BOTH can succeed with R+F by following our dreams! What a great story, Janet!

  6. Mark Link says:

    Janet, Congratulations. Your story is an inspiration for both men and women alike.

  7. Rafael M says:

    Very impressive, Janet! I am very fortunate to have met you at the Grove… I am astonished at the level of world affairs you have taken part of. A wonderful example for women and an inspiration for many!

  8. Kathy Monahan says:

    Yep, that’s my bridesmaid!!!!

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