Interview with Tricia Meyer and Cindy Ballard of Sunshine Rewards
Tell us about your company, it’s purpose, mission, target audience, goals, what makes it unique.
Our company is called Sunshine Rewards, and we are an online rewards site. We help our members earn rewards by shopping online, participating in surveys, and completing offers. Our goal is to help people earn a little bit of money by doing things that they would be doing anyway. Our site is open to males and females but most of our social networking targets females. We are unique in our industry because we are family run and we take a very personal approach to the business. Our members know us personally, they see us in videos, and they even meet us at our various city meet-ups.
In terms of general uniqueness, neither of us started in this field. We came from completely different professions and separate geographically by hundreds of miles. But we ended up coming together to work virtually doing something that we have both come to love.
How did you come to work together in the first place?
Tricia had started the business after leaving the practice of law to be able to spend more time with her kids. As the business grew, it became apparent that she was going to need help. Cindy was working as a veterinary technician and was having some health issues. Cindy started working part-time from home in Florida for Tricia, who was in Indiana. After a couple of months, Cindy started really liking what she was doing and Tricia’s business was continuing to grow. Thus, Cindy left her job to join the company full-time and permanently.
Please describe your respective roles in the company.
Tricia is the owner and manages the high level work, including the technical aspects of the business, advertising, the budget, and the business growth. Cindy interacts more with the individual merchants listed on the site, including negotiating coupons and promotions with the merchants. Both interact equally with the members in the forum as well as film videos for the videoblog.
How has working together affected your relationship outside the “office.”
There have been times when it has been hard to separate being a mother and daughter from being a boss and an employee. In particular, we have to be sure that we do not dominate family time with talk about the business because not everyone wants to hear about it.
What are some of the challenges you have faced working together?
The biggest challenge has been putting aside our normal dynamic. It’s natural for the mother to be the leader and the daughter to be the follower. But the roles are reversed in our company. So we have to remind ourselves (and each other) of our strengths and weaknesses and work without regard for who is older, who is younger, who is the boss, etc. Instead, it has to be about who has the most knowledge about the particular task at hand and whose skill-set is best suited for it.
We are probably the most recognized mother-daughter team in our industry, affiliate marketing. We were both on the cover of Feedfront Magazine recently as the “Women of Affiliate Marketing.” Despite a falling economy, we manage to keep our business growing each year by working together closely. Most other people say that they can’t imagine working with their mother/daughter. We can’t imagine not working together anymore.
What do you like best about working together? Least?
Best: There is an unfailing trust that we have in each other that we will always work in the best interest of the business, even at a personal cost sometimes. We never have to worry that the other one will in any way do anything to hurt the business.
Least: Sometimes it feels like our life has become about the business because we both work so hard at it. We have to be careful not to let it encompass our whole relationship.
What, if any big challenges or little annoyances have occured as a result of working together and how have you managed to overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is that we have very different personal styles. Sometimes we tease that we play “good cop/bad cop.” But the reality is that we are very different when it comes to how we communicate. The trick is to learn to use it to our advantage rather than let it impact the business negatively.
What tips would you share with our readers for working with a member of the family?
You have to have a strong foundation in your relationship before you can expect to work together. And you have to expect that there are going to be ups and downs—agreements as well as differences. Some things will be easier as a result of your relationship while others will be harder.
What’s been the most exciting thing that has happened as a result of working together?
The travel! We get to go to fun places together like Las Vegas and New York. We would never have left our spouses and traveled together if it were not for the business. We’ve gotten lucky and been invited to some awesome places as a result of our work. Sometimes we look at each other and say “Can you believe we are actually here???” People in our industry call us the “Sunshine Girls” and we love every minute of it.
What’s next for this mother daughter team?
We’re planning to take over the affiliate marketing world! Seriously, we want to be huge. We have our sights set high that Sunshine Rewards is going to be a household name in hundreds of thousands of houses around the United States in the next couple of years.
For more information, visit: www.sunshinerewards.com
This article can be read in the Spring/Summer Issue of WE Magazine for Women