Ali Katz logo

Why the Women’s Gifting Circles Weren’t Sustainable and a Potentially Viable Alternative

It has been a long-held dream of mine to support creative men and women to experience personal sovereignty and financial liberation.

That dream originates in three places:

2) My mom is an artist who loves to travel and create, and I watcher her compromise her life dreams so she could support me and my sister because she couldn’t figure out how to earn her income using her creativity (and is still working at 70);

3) I gained my own personal sovereignty and financial liberation by building a million dollar law practice, and then a company that trains lawyers on the new law business model I created, and as a result, I’ve been able to create my own economy by employing friends and family, giving my kids’ opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have and investing in ventures I believe in.

As a result of these experiences, I feel confident that guiding the creative men and women who are part of my community of lightworkers, healers, artists, dreamers and visionaries to experience financial liberation will make the world a better place.

And so I’ve been seeking the very best way to do that.

I Investigated Whether Women’s Gifting Circles Could Be the Path to Financial Liberation for the Eyes Wide Open Community.

A few years ago, I wrote an article about women’s gifting circles because there were many women in our community who were choosing to join them, some of whom were making a lot of money, and others who got sucked in by the promise of easy money, only to find themselves in internal conflict and conflict with the friends who had invited them in.

As I looked into the gifting circle phenomenon, it became clear to me that they were meeting a big need in the community.

Women in our community strongly desired a way to earn income that did not involve working for low hourly wages, or selling sex or growing weed.

And yet these same women were not the type to build companies, and create their own products, and live out the entrepreneurial hustle of seeking funding, building customer service teams, marketing and selling their services.

The gifting circles provided an ostensible alternative to business that capitalized on the natural feminine skills of connecting, gathering, and educating.

Unfortunately, for several reasons, gifting circles were a sub-optimal structure that could not (and did not) actually serve as intended.

1) I watched my dad die at just 58-years old full of self-hatred because he only knew how to earn money by taking from others;

For starters, gifting circles are illegal. As a result, they had to remain secret. And the illegality and secrecy made it impossible for infrastructure to be created that would ensure the participants received the leadership support they needed to actually succeed.

In addition, the structure of the circles made it so that it was highly unlikely that women who invested would earn back their investment.

To begin with, the math shows that at 31 rounds, the population of the entire world has been maxed out, so definitely not sustainable long-term.

See full presentation of how the circles worked here:

And even if you ignore the math and argue that the gifting circles could serve a greater purpose than just the return of financial investment + profit (as I did in my original article on women’s gifting circles), they were not the right vehicle for serving that greater purpose.

In their ideal structure, these circles would have been vehicles for the women who participated to learn how to find money to invest in a venture, and then to learn how to lead a team, enroll others in their vision and create more wealth for themselves and everyone around them.

Most often though, because of the secrecy and lack of sustainable leadership due to the structure of the circles (leaders who were “successful” and received all of their “gifts” had no incentive to stay involved and continuing modeling leadership) women who participated were disillusioned, hurt and often left with deeper wounds around money and leadership than when they had first participated.

Gifting Circles Weren’t It, But I Discovered a Huge Need +
A Strong Desire to Serve That Need.

Since writing about the circles and discovering the huge need in the community, I have been looking for a sustainable alternative that would capitalize on the natural gifts of the feminine while also supporting the growth of feminine leadership and re-patterning old money beliefs.

I even considered creating it myself.

I thought one way to do it would be to train women in my community to become Money Map Masters.

The Money Map is a program I created that guides those who use it to clearly and honestly envision their ideal life and the time and skills they really have to create that life.

Those who complete the Money Map come into right relationship with time, money and how they get paid and a clear path to chart for their own ideal income model.

I loved the idea of using the Money Map to create a “share the wealth” company and scaling the model by replicating the best parts of the gifting circles and giving the women (and creative men) in my community a built-in product + service that would allow them to build their own sustainable wealth.

I would train those who loved the Money Map for themselves as Money Map Masters, so they could guide their own friends and family through the process, and earn income while they did it.

But, there were some issues with the Money Map being the vehicle:

For my company to train a Money Map Master required a minimum $5,000 investment by each person who wanted to get trained, due to the resources necessary for training.

And earning back that investment required a Money Map Master to charge a minimum of $500 for their services and upwards of several thousand dollars.

While personalized support through the Money Map is certainly worth that, I wanted to be able to support people into economic independence who didn’t necessarily have $5,000 to startup their own business.

And I wanted to see them be able to get to at least a $1,000/mo income within 30 days, which was not possible with the Money Map, which requires a minimum 6-month training to become a Master.

On top of that, because of my own time limitations as the CEO of another company, and the mom of two teenagers, I was not able to build the infrastructure necessary to provide the support that would be needed to train the Money Map Masters, provide robust customer service to the Masters and their clients, plus create the marketing and sales support the Masters would need to sell their products and services.

While it’s still a vision for the future, I decided to keep looking for the right business I could get involved with that would allow me to support creative men and women in my community to have their own personal sovereignty and financial liberation.

It would need to have a built-in income model that would include a product that I could get behind, fully.

It needed to have sustainable leadership structures that would allow me to share the leadership skills I’ve learned by being a CEO for the past twelve years, growing million dollar businesses, and that would incentivize me to grow my team.

And, there would be robust customer service systems in place, an online back office, and done for you websites.

These were all things I wanted to provide for my Money Map Masters, and ultimately could not fully build-out myself to support hundreds, or even thousands, tens of thousand or the millions of people I wanted to support to step into economic independence.

I had a sense that an existing network marketing (or multi-level marketing/MLM) company might be just the thing.

I Tried Out a Couple MLMs Thinking They May Serve the Need.

I briefly considered Doterra and Purium, both of which have products I love and use myself.

But with each of them, I found that the path to earn the kind of income I wanted for myself and wanted my team to have was too slow and, frankly, too small.

And the amount of product that affiliates needed to buy to get up and running and maintain their business before they started earning the kind of money that would make it worth it, was too significant relative to the income potential.

I vetted each of them by enrolling myself and then sharing the opportunity with a few people in my close community. (The best way I know to figure out whether something will work is to try it myself, and that’s actually inherent to my Human Design as a 1/3 profile, for those of you familiar with that typing system.)

After enrolling and sharing the opportunity, I made a few hundred dollars, but I couldn’t see my way to even $1,000/mo of consistent income, let alone the $5,000 to $10,000 per month that would be necessary for me to take 3–5 hours a week away from my existing ventures.

So I remained a customer of both companies (which have great products I still use), but discontinued the business side.

Just When I Thought I’d Have to Back-Burner My Desire to Support
Financial Liberation For Our Community for Several Years, This Happened.

By early 2016, I had realized that I could no longer successfully run two companies and parent my kids the way I wanted to be able to do. I would have to choose.

So I chose to focus on serving the lawyers as that company was already built out significantly with a whole team, sustainable products and a proven market, and I figured I could come back to serving the creative community in a few years after I developed my own leadership skills further.

Then, in October of 2016 I was contacted by Renee Jeffus, about a new hemp oil business she had recently gotten involved with, Prime My Body.

When I found out it was a multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing structure, I told her I wasn’t interested.

Remember, I had already tried both Doterra and Purium, and they weren’t it.

And I didn’t want to put energy into yet another possibility that would distract me from the work I was already doing with the lawyers. (As you’ll see, I’m kicking myself now that I didn’t get involved back then, but I also do trust the timing of all of it.)

In December, my friend Kiana contacted me and asked me to get involved. I declined again.

Then, my friend Dr. Lori Cardellino contacted me, more excited than I had ever heard her. Dr. Lori is a holistic dentist and naturopath. And she told me she had found the holy grail business possibility for our community.

When she told me the story, I was definitely more intrigued. Dr. Lori is picky (to say the least) when it comes to CBD. She had been mentoring with the top CBD scientist in the world for ten years. And she wasn’t into MLMs.

But, at the time, she checked out the business, after seeing the health turn-around Renee had experienced. As she was sitting in a hotel conference room listening to the pitch, she saw a slide that was the same slide shared by HER mentor, Dr. Chris Shade.

Dr. Chris Shade’s slide on the speed and amount of absorption of Prime My Body CBD compared to other brands

But at that time, the company wasn’t revealing who the scientist was, and she thought maybe they were just stealing and using his research data.

She called him at the break and asked him what his slide was doing in an MLM presentation. He said “shhhh, they are keeping me a secret for now.”

The company was working on an exclusive deal, in which they would become the primary distributor of Dr. Chris Shade’s best formulation, but it wouldn’t be announced for another six months. (You can watch Dr. Shade’s presentation at the Prime My Body launch here.)

So, Lori had to keep his name quiet.

But, she immediately began calling her best friends (me included) and telling them they had to get signed up because Prime My Body had THE BEST hemp oil on the planet and while she couldn’t tell me the scientists name, she said trust me — sign up.

I still didn’t sign up though because I was busy with my own work, and wanted to stay focused.

It wasn’t until my best friend of 15 years, JoAnne Rees, called me that I finally decided to check it out.

Why I Decided to Give Prime My Body a Try After Saying No to Gifting Circles and Other MLM Companies.

I decided to move forward with Prime My Body for several reasons, but I wouldn’t get fully behind it right away, until I could vet the company and the product myself.

First, I’ve always wanted to be in business with my long-time friend, JoAnne. At one point, I hired her to work for my company, but that wasn’t the right business relationship for us. Me being her boss threw our relationship out of whack.

Me and Joanne, our 3rd year at Burning Man

I once had a dream that Joanne and I would start a credit counseling business together, but she’s a homeschooling, single mom of two, and I knew she wasn’t really available for that kind of commitment.

So when she contacted me about the hemp oil business, and I saw firsthand the impact the oil was having in her life (she had been having some serious depression and hormonal problems before starting on the oil and was having a major shift in her health after taking it), I figured I would go ahead and sign up to support her, but I wasn’t going to build a business around it.

For three months, I did nothing, other than take the oil myself, occasionally.

And I watched a lot of people I respected in my online community come on board. Women, like Elena “Meta” Jaroff, Patty Yu, Amber Hartnell and Nadia Willis. Seeing them get involved, I wished that I had been the one to invite them.

But, I told myself, I was really too busy with my existing company. And, I wouldn’t have been the one to invite them anyway, as I was still unsure about whether this company was the right one.

I also saw women in my own Boulder community, who I definitely would have invited, if I hadn’t been sitting back and waiting to see what happened, join.

For example, my former nanny, who had been struggling to find her way beyond the world of watching other people’s kids. (And, who has now built her own team with Prime My Body and just bought her own house!)

And I began to see all of these women building their teams, learning leadership, and earning more money than they ever had before …

This was promising.

Then, in March, Renee came to Boulder. And she shared with me what had been happening for her since joining the company the past October.

Before learning about the hemp oil, Renee had been sick, very sick. Some sort of illness that appeared to be due to environmental toxicity. A methane leak in Ventura, where she had been living with Lori, combined with off-gassing from some furniture they had bought together, had created a reality where Renee could barely move.

Renne was so ill that she left Ventura and moved to Ashland, Oregon with the hopes of healing. But nothing shifted, until she began taking the Prime My Body Hemp Oil dietary supplement.

According to Renee, within days, she was not only back to herself, she was even better. More vital, more radiant, more alive.

And on the business side …

Renee quickly began earning quite a lot of money (today, she is a Black Diamond in the company, which is the top rank), sharing hemp oil and the Prime My Body business with her community in Ashland and building a team.

In fact, I was on her team, as JoAnne was part of her downline.

After hearing Renee’s story, I decided to introduce Renee and the Prime My Body hemp oil and business to a few of my friends in Boulder who I knew could really benefit from a sustainable income model, and the oil itself.

I had a meeting at my home with Renee and invited my personal assistant, a friend who was working in the sex industry, another friend who was growing weed, another friend who was a year into starting up her own organic food company, my boyfriend at the time, and a long time friend who was also a coach in my lawyer training company.

All of them decided to join the company.

I earned back the investment I had made in purchasing my own oil plus a small profit.

But I still didn’t really have time to put into the business. And, before I really put any time into it, I wanted to more fully vet it.

When the co-founder Austin Tice came into town, I attended his meeting. And I really liked him.

He shared the roots of the company with me. And, his vision for the future.

I told him I wouldn’t really be able to put much energy into it, but that I was intrigued by what I was seeing.

When the other co-founder, John Taylor (J.T.), came into town, I met him as well.

J.T. has been in the MLM world a long time, and he likes to talk about the money aspect of the business. He’s been in the MLM world for a long time, and reminded me a bit of my dad.

Maybe if a legit network marketing business built around health had been available during my dad’s life, he would still be alive and well right now.

Once My Homeschooling Mom Friend Came On Board and Began Building a Team, I Knew I’d Found the Solution I Was Seeking.

One night, I was playing “Words with Friends” (online scrabble) with a friend I’ve known for years, through our kids. Her name is also Ali. And I knew she was a friend of JoAnne’s, so I asked her if she had considered the hemp oil business.

She is pretty much the anti-thesis of business, so I was surprised when she said that she was intrigued. She’s a homeschooling mom of 4, two teenagers and two still little one’s.

Ali shared with me that she would really like to earn some money because her husband has been working so hard to support them all, but that she felt scared that she wouldn’t really be able to do it.

I offered her some coaching to help her get clear and she took me up on it.

So we talked and together felt into her “why” and into whether she wanted to learn leadership skills, and build a team. Her why? She wanted to be able to foot the family’s organic food bill without feeling guilty for how much she spent each month feeding her family.

And, she tried the oil.

Then, she came to a meeting, shaking her head the whole time, certain she wouldn’t actually be able to do it.

But, she left confident that she wanted to give it a try.

And, also certain that she was going to go slow with it and not put any pressure on herself.

She asked me if I would be let down if she didn’t build a big business. I reassured that I was there to support her to have what she wanted and that I didn’t have any agenda at all.

The next thing I knew, she was calling me daily to buy more and more of the bottles of oil I happened to have in inventory. It turns out that all of her friends wanted to try the oil.

And then, much to my shock, she went to the company launch event in Houston, even flying her mom in to help with her kids, at the event.

Ali came back on fire.

Within 45 days of joining the company, Ali built a team that’s almost as big as mine.

I’ve watched Ali’s leadership bloom into full expression before my eyes.

The dark circles I’ve seen under her eyes every time I’ve seen her over the years are gone. She’s modeling empowered feminine leadership for her 4 boys, and I can see a future in which she may even end up the family breadwinner.

At the same time that happened, Renee Jeffus, the friend who first invited me into the company back in October, earned the rank of Black Diamond in the company, along with my friends Kiana and Dr. Lori, the other two women who invited me in. (Yes, I kinda wish I had joined back when I was first invited, but I also trust the timing and my path, and fortunately I enrolled when I did.)

Prime My Body Black Diamonds Dr. Lori Cardellino, Renee Jeffus, Dr. Erin Pollinger, and Kiana Prema

And best of all, these women are modeling a beautiful form of feminine leadership, full of heart, connection, love and compassion, with a duplicatable business model that supports each of us to be what we want to see in the world.

And shows us where we aren’t being exactly that.

The Prime My Body Hemp Oil Business Has Shown Me Exactly Where I Am In My Own Way of Having Exactly What I Want

Being part of Prime My Body has quickly shown me exactly where I am in my own way in life and business.

While it’s true that I’ve built multiple million dollar businesses, I’ve repeatedly done it the hard way.

Due to the karma I am burning from my dad’s work in the world (and his legacy of taking advantage of people to earn money) I created a belief that I can only earn money if I’m doing hard work to earn it.

If I’m not working hard for it, there must be something wrong.

I’m ready to shift this belief. I can provide value and earn money and have it be easy and good.

And I’m definitely coming up against some of my own personal edges and limitations, as I confront what’s been deeply ingrained inside of me.

That’s the nature of business. No matter what business you are in, or what business model you choose to earn your income, you are going to hit up against your own personal edges as you grow your income and do your work in the world.

Over the next days, weeks and months, I’ll be sharing more about my experience with the Prime My Body hemp oil business, including how it’s working for me, where it’s forcing me to face my own edges, and how I’m doing in the business.

For now, I’ll leave you with this … if you’ve been looking for a business that you can do from home, and where you don’t have to build your own website or customer service team, and you love the idea of helping others have more health and wealth in their lives, I’d love for you to consider joining the HempireBuilder team.

recorded a video with Kiana Prema about the business aspect of Prime My Body, which you can watch here to learn more. Choose the “watch yesterday’s recording” option to get immediate access.

And, if you just want to try the hemp oil itself, you can order your own bottle here and have it shipped to you directly (legal in the 50 states). I’ll be sharing my personal experience with the health benefits of the oil in a future article.

Please note: one of the things I love about the MLM/network marketing/affiliate marketing business model is that in order for me to earn the kind of income I want with Prime My Body, my focus will need to be on supporting my team to build their team. That’s how the compensation model works, and one of the things I really love about it most. I cannot be a lone ranger in this business.

And, I need to keep it super simple and duplicatable by anyone who follows the model. That’s how it works.

To that end, I am building out online resources, such as, to make it easier for my team to build and lead their own teams. I’m excited about that.

The company is very new, having just officially launched on June 10th (with pre-launch dating back to October or so of 2016, which gave them time to work out many of the business kinks). If you love to get in early on an opportunity and be part of the “Founder’s Circle”, you may still even be in time for that.

You can hear more about the Prime My Body Founder’s Circle, which includes company profit sharing beginning in 2018, in the video here, if it’s still available.

If you’d like to stay up to date with my personal experience with Prime My Body, subscribe to this story OR get on my regular email newsletter list at