After years of being a stay-at-home mom and putting her career on hold, Lisa Pulliam became restless.
Mrs. Pulliam, 45, said her kids were starting to enter their teenage years, and the family was not financially ready for cars and college, so she knew she needed to do something.
Becoming an independent consultant with Ambit Energy allowed her to spend the time she needed with her four children, as well as bring in additional income for her family, she said.
Her husband of nearly 22 years, Chris Pulliam, is pastor at First Christian Church in Tyler, a job that moved the family here from Arkansas about five years ago.
For the past 16 years, Mrs. Pulliam had been a stay-at-home mom to their four children, Emily, 19; Robert, 17; Patrick, 15; and Carol Ann, 10. She worked some part-time jobs along the way, trying to find things she could do from home, when she began feeling restless, she said.
Mrs. Pulliam had worked in the nonprofit sector for a couple of years before becoming a mom. She began substitute teaching and had plans to get her teacher's certificate when she learned about Ambit Energy four years ago.
A good friend, Robert E. Lee High School Coach Alan Johnston, told her about his part-time business as an independent consultant for Ambit Energy, a 7-year-old retail electric providing company in Texas and eight other states.
Mrs. Pulliam also became a consultant and said she shares the benefits of being a customer with her friends, family and neighbors. She also recruits other consultants. She said she partners with the company to be an independent consultant out in the field, while Ambit Energy is the corporation behind the consultants. She makes her commission through new customers she brings the company, she added.
It is not a door-to-door, cold-calling type of company, Mrs. Pulliam said. Consultants share information about the company with people they come in contact with all of the time.
"I love the people," Mrs. Pulliam said of what she likes most about the job. She appreciates the business leaders who mentored her to have a successful business from home, as well as helping friends make a difference in their lives, she added.
She considers it a blessing to have developed a business for which she can work part-time from home and still be active in her church and her kids' lives.
Mrs. Pulliam was selected to share her experience at Ambit Energy's annual conference that will be held in Dallas in September. She will tell her story to more than 10,000 consultants from across the country, she said.
"It's a huge honor," she said. "I'm really still pinching myself about it. … I'm excited to share my story to encourage other women to pursue their own personal success in life."
She said it can be hard to balance career and family, but Ambit Energy has allowed her to bring them together. Mrs. Pulliam said she wants to inspire other women that they can be successful business owners.
She went from an at-home mom and "domestic engineer to entrepreneur" overnight with one decision to become a consultant, she said. The business has helped the family pay for college for her oldest daughter, who is a sophomore.
Mrs. Pulliam said she is very involved in her children's school programs at Robert E. Lee High School, as well as her husband's church and community organizations.
She helped charter the professional group, Business Networking International, in Tyler. She said it is the largest networking organization of its kind in the world. Professionals in Tyler come together once a week and share business referrals. It is a way for her to get out into the professional world in Tyler and meet other entrepreneurs, she said. Mrs. Pulliam recently joined Toast Masters, an organization that helps men and women refine their speaking and communication skills.
If you know of a professional woman or business service in the Tyler area you think should be highlighted in this column, contact Business Editor Casey Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-596-6289.