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What’s so bad about direct selling?

Direct selling is a great vehicle as a home-based business. That said, why does it get such a negative vibe?  You mention “direct selling” to someone and they squish up their face as if they’ve just bitten into an unripe lemon [which is a truly bad taste].  However, people all over the world purchase products from direct sellers every day of the week, every week of the year.  Products like cosmetics and functional beverages and vitamin supplements and baskets and food containers and scrap-booking supplies and home decorative elements and health and life insurance are all examples of direct selling products.  In fact, some of the most well-known products in the world cannot be purchased in a retail store…they have to be purchased from an independent contractor [or consultant or distributor or agent].  Billions of dollars in sales every year are generated through direct selling.

So what’s so bad about direct selling as a home-based business?  Here are some of the inaccuracies I’ve heard:

  • I don’t want to go door-to-door.  If you were interested in my product, you would never hear about it because I knocked on your front door.  Most products sold by direct selling independent contractors are done by invitation and referral.  In fact, the income opportunities with which I’m affiliated discourage this type of selling mechanism…it’s a pure waste of time and effort.
  • I can’t sell. Good, then don’t.  As sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer says, people don’t want to be sold they want to buy.  Don’t “sell” something, share information.  Ask questions.  Let’s say you are in conversation with someone and the subject of health comes up and your product is a vitamin supplement; ask the person how they are managing that aspect of their health maintenance and would they be interested in some information about your product?  Give them the information and let them make their own decisions.
  • I can’t represent something I don’t believe in. Well then, don’t.  You can’t get excited about something you aren’t excited about.  For instance, I could never talk passionately to you about the juice product I represent if I was not already passionate about it.  And I’m passionate about it because I use my own product for my own health benefit.  And because I do benefit from it [and so does my family] then I’m quite excited to tell you about it.
  • I can’t afford a large inventory.  That’s a good thing because now-a-days not only don’t you need one, with many direct selling companies you ought not to have one.  With the internet and the availability of sales websites, your customers have the convenience of shopping online and having their orders drop-shipped to them.  You don’t have to stock your garage with product that you aren’t sure will move.   To me, in my business, this means I have the assurance that my customers are getting the freshest product direct from the distribution point…not from stock I’ve had sitting in my garage.
  • It’s too expensive to start a business.  Depending upon the product or service, this may not be true.  There are some direct selling companies that cost in the $200-300 range to enroll [which includes kits/samples] and there are direct selling companies that cost far less to enroll [one of the two income opportunities with which I’m involved is offering no-cost enrollment this year as example].
  • I don’t have the time.  Time spent working your business is a personal choice.  A direct selling home-based business differs from a “job” where it is your employer who sets your work hours.  With your own business, you decide how many hours per day/week you’ll work, what time during the day – when you start, when you stop…you even decide if you don’t work at all any given day.  It’s your business.

There is, in actuality much that is great about direct selling…so much so that about 59 million people worldwide are involved in this industry.   If you are among the thousands of people wondering if a direct selling income opportunity would help you in your current financial situation, then give it a look.  It costs nothing to look and the benefits of involvement are rich.

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A thought about positive thinking

I’ve been giving some thought lately to the subject of positive thinking.  Having a home-based business is challenging – well, in this economic climate having any kind of business, job, no job…it’s all challenging and keeping oneself in a positive frame of mind regardless of the current circumstances can be daunting.

“They” say that you can both effect and affect the outcome of a thing by how you think about it.  That could very well be true.  Take for instance the case of the person who “sabotages their own success.”  We’ve all heard of this phenomenon – and it boils down to how that person thought: the person had the skills and talent to succeed at whatever it was, but they truly didn’t believe they would succeed and so their brain went to work to make sure they didn’t succeed.  Our brains are so cooperative, aren’t they?

If the negative frame-of-mind works…then why not the positive frame-of-mind?  If you are working at maintaining a life mode of positive thinking, then you could say you are dedicated to it.  In his book “…Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude….” Jeffrey Gitomer says, “….Positive attitude is defined as The way you dedicate yourself to the way you think….”

Dedicating oneself to being and having a positive frame of mind is a new concept.  It seems to be more than “Gee, I’d like to be a positive thinking person.”  To be dedicated to something is to persevere at it – to work at it continuously.  It’s an action, not just a philosophy.  It is literally something to do not just to think about.

Many people put positive thinking in the realm of abstraction, as if it is a philosophical discussion point.  But, what if it isn’t?  What if positive thinking was a real time activity that requires refinement and honing over time to perfect?

The key question becomes, how do I actually re-frame the manner in which I think?  Is the “how you think” a machine-like process?  Can it be re-tooled so that information coming in is actually processed in a new way?

Why would this be important for a small home business person?  I think it’s because of the “D” words:

  • discouraged
  • depressed
  • dogged tired
  • defeated
  • disappointed

Every person will have days:

  • when the phone does not ring
  • the response to their offer is “no”
  • the email or letter does not come
  • the sale didn’t go through
  • the distributor quit
  • when simple fatigue makes it hard to smile one more time

If a pattern, a habit if-you-will, of positive thinking were in place…a tooling of the mind that allows every situation to be filtered through a “glass half full” mindset, then the “D” words wouldn’t win.  Your mind will counter with a positive spin and seek solutions.  A negative mindset will simply agree with the “D” words and offer nothing constructive.

It could be that positive thinking can result in more than just waking up each morning with a smile.  The habit of choosing to put in place a positive filter can keep someone ready to recognize new opportunities [customers, distributors, clients] when they present themselves.  A clouded visage just wouldn’t see them.

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The ABCs for home-based business success

It’s simple, really, to make a success of your home-based business.  Whether your business is as an independent consultant for a company that manufactures a product [everything from baskets to vitamins], or you have set up yourself as a freelance virtual assistant.  Once you have the business in place, your name on the sign-in sheet, your business cards printed, your web presence established, then all you have to do is follow the ABCs.

Ninety-nine percent [99%] of your success is going to depend on your attitude and your belief. Add to that your commitment to your attitude and belief.  Let’s break that down.

Attitude:

  • if you think you can, you’ll then know you can, and you will [think it, know it, do it/be it]
  • posture yourself as a winner, a leader, a visionary
  • act as if you already are successful – literally see yourself as you will be and act accordingly-your mind will go to work to make reality fit your picture
  • remember, you were attracted to your business opportunity and your opinion matters

The “king” of positive attitude for me is Jeffrey Gitomer.  His “Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude….” pulled me through a difficult time.  I like Jeffrey’s writing because it cuts to the chase.  He says on page 77 of my book…“It ain’t the rain, the snow, the boss, the competition, the spouse, the money, the car, the job, or the kids – it’s you! And it always has been….”

Keep your attitude positive.  Work on it every day.  It begins with “a” and comes first.  Think, as Jeffrey Gitomer advocates, “YES!” at all times.  Have you ever noticed how a person can talk themselves out of things?  Well the reverse is true…we can talk ourselves into things too.  Say: I think I am successful, I know I am successful…I am successful. Period.

Belief:

  • in your idea
  • in your goals and miletstones
  • in your dreams
  • in your company and product/service

Your belief level will reflect your income level.  I’m not advocating “pie in the sky” belief here.  I’m not going to start a business where I’m leading mountain climbing expeditions.  If you knew me, you’d know that would be out of my realm of do-ability.  I could “believe” in the idea all day and would fail.  Rather we’re on the page that you already have done your due diligence and found a home business opportunity that is do-able and has good income potential.  It has a product or service that you feel comfortable representing and is backed by a company with integrity. [As example, one thing I love about the company that I’m associated with is that it has never had to back order product and it has always paid out commissions on time and in full.  That’s integrity.]  Once I have my business in place, my attitude and belief will lead me to be successful in it.

I also believe that your attitude and belief level will generate your commitment level.

Commitment:

  • to your success
  • to your dreams and goals

Commitment is made of other words: consistency, determination, persistence, refusal to quit, creative problem solving, seeing challenges as opportunities, courage to plow through rocky fields…commitment is what glues you to your dreams.  If you are committed, there is only one direction: forward.

So. Be your own cheer squad.  Have three colors in your pompoms: attitude, belief and commitment.  As Yoda said, “…do or do not…there is no try….”

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3 ways to keep your chin up in hard times

One of the books on my business book shelf is one by Jeffrey Gitomer called “Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Golden Book of YES! Attitude – How to Find, Build and Keep a YES! Attitude for a lifetime of Success.”  I love this little book.  I love Jeffrey Gitomer’s style of directly saying what he means.  Attitude is so important…especially so when you feel challenged all around.

Right now in the United States and many other countries of the world business is difficult.  The economy has people hurting.  People have lost their homes or are in jeopardy of doing so.  Many people have been laid off their jobs, downsized, had their paychecks cut or fear any of those happening.  Many people expect that they won’t see any raises or bonuses this year.  Consumers are cutting back on spending which in turn is hurting businesses that sell consumer goods.  If sales get too slow, then those businesses may have to lay off workers, scale back…it’s a difficult picture.

So what can you do to keep your chin up?  What if you have a small home-based business and you are dependent upon customers buying your products?  What if you’ve lost some customers because they’ve tightened their belts?  When times are hard, they are hard for everyone.

Keep your chin up by:

  1. Being grateful every day for what you do have.  This sounds like a cliche, but the very act of acknowledging gratefulness can, I believe, put you in a positive frame of mind.  I’m old enough now to be able to look back on some hard times in my life and I know how hard it can be to put this gratefulness-thing into practice.  There was a time when my daughters were little girls [both are grown and married now] and it was just the three of us – I had a low-paying job, we had no health insurance and daycare took over 1/3 of my monthly salary.  That particular year was so difficult that I had to go to a food bank just to have Thanksgiving dinner.  However, I was able to be very grateful because I was blessed to be mom to two beautiful little girls. 
  2. Do your very best work.  There are days when it seems pointless to care about doing a good job….days when you feel you  just can’t smile at one more customer who ends up just browsing and not buying; or you hear one more customer service complaint; or you read the memo that says paychecks will be cut by 5%.  You can feel as though what’s the use of trying?  Who cares?  I believe it’s times like these when personal integrity ought to come to the forefront and you dig deep and do your very best work because that is what you do.   Even if you are the only person who cares, your opinion about it matters to you.  Hard times do not last forever. However bad impressions can.  Do your very best now, during hard times, and they will be remembered when times are good.  Some years ago I worked for a retail clothing store, high-end lines of clothing, and the store’s policy was to accept returns on purchases no matter what.  As a sales person, if someone brought you something to return it went against your sales for that day.  There was a day when a customer brought in some clothing to return and the amount was over $1000.  And I made no sales that day.  It was miserable.  But I did my best work that day and was helpful and courteous to the few browsers who came in.  The next day one of those ladies came back and purchased an entire wardrobe for her upcoming cruise…from me.  She told me that I had been so nice to her the day prior that she wanted to work with me again.  Her purchase that day more than made up for the previous day’s negative sales.  If I had allowed the bad day to negatively affect my attitude I think there would have been no way this customer would have returned.
  3. Smile.  This one thing, one action, can have remarkable effect.  Smiles are contagious.  Smiles make people who receive them feel validated.  Smiles – truly sincere and spontaneous – can lift another’s spirits and change moods.  What if you were to smile and add polite conventions to it like saying “please” and “thank you?”  I started getting into a habit of always thanking a waitperson for whatever they do when I’m at a restaurant – I thank them for bringing my drink and thank them every time they refill my glass.  I smile and try to use their name if they’ve given it and/or it’s on their name tag.  Since doing this I have noticed I get much better service most of the time.  Smile even when you feel you don’t have anything to smile about. 

Being grateful for something everyday, doing your very best work every day and smiling can help you to keep your chin up during hard times.

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2 sure-fire ways to kill your home-based business

Doubt and Inaction.  The two fastest and deadliest ways to kill your home-based business.

Let me ask you a question: are you your business’ #1 fan?  Do you use your own product?  Do you talk about how wonderful it is?  Do you buy it, use it, buy it again on a continuous basis?  If not, why not?  How will you expect anyone else to want your product if you don’t use it and be excited about it?  I think that if you aren’t your product’s #1 fan it is because you doubt its value.

Doubt will kill your business.  It will cause you to second-guess yourself and rob you of opportunities to succeed.

Replace doubt with positive thinking“At the beginning of any task, more than anything else, your attitude will affect its successful outcome.” Jeffrey Gitomer

Jeffrey Gitomer also says, “In business, your positive thoughts and lifestyle choices lead to your personal success and your career success.”

Which leads me to the 2nd business killer…inaction.  I know of people who have a home-based business and they complain that their business is not growing.  They complain that they have no customers.  A close look at their business reveals why: they aren’t doing any activities that would generate business.  You actually have to do something to achieve success.

Yes, believing in yourself, your product and business is important.  Having a positive attitude is important.  But if you are not pairing that up with action…you’ll just spin your wheels and dig a rut.  You actually have to talk.  You have to share.  You have to communicate.  You may have to travel.  You have to give presentations.  You have to make it known that your product is awesome and if people want to try it they must purchase some through you – then you must tell them how to do that.  If someone expresses interest in your business you actually have to follow-up with them…call them.  Not once, maybe not even twice…follow-up until you and they are satisfied that all the questions have been answered.

Having a home-based business is challenging…but you won’t stand a chance of meeting those challenges unless you banish doubt and inaction.

*As a demonstration of what I mean…I have a home-based businessI am my product’s #1 fan – I buy it, I drink it, I buy it again…continuously.  In fact, my mornings are not complete unless I have my glass of MonaVie.  Yes there are other very good nutritious juice products out there…I happen to love MonaVie, believe in its nutritional value and wouldn’t think of starting my day without it.  It energizes me.  I tell everyone about MonaVie because I want people to know there are choices in this niche market and that my product is a valuable one.

I also love to tell people about the MonaVie income opportunity.  I love to give presentations and show people how they can get involved.  If I didn’t think the potential for serious income was real I wouldn’t waste my time…I’d just be a customer.  But I have the best of both worlds – a wonderful nutritious juice and a valuable home-based income opportunity.

I have no doubt about my business; I’m with MonaVie for life.*

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What’s new on your bookshelf for the New Year?

Do you ever skim over the titles on the bookshelves in homes and offices you visit?  Depending upon the location, you might even expect to find the titles you see.  For instance in a physician’s office you expect to find books about disease, wellness, health and drug interaction.  That’s pretty easy.

Here’s a test [answers at the end of the post]-where would you find these titles?

Test One:

  • Spikes-Exploring the neural code
  • Visual C++ 6.0 Programmer’s Guide
  • Calculus and analytic geometry
  • Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
  • Building Robots with Lego Mindstorms

Test Two:

  • SpaceShipOne
  • The Last Man on the Moon
  • Caribbean Reef Fishes
  • Shipwrecks of North Carolina
  • Cephalopods of the World
  • Principles of Color Technology
  • Zone system for Fine B&W Photography

Test Three:

  • The Encyclopedia of Insects
  • Galls and Gall Insects
  • Amphibians
  • Principles of Neural Science

Final Test:

  • The Scientist in the Crib-what early learning tells us about the mind
  • The Acrylic Artist’s Bible
  • Finding your visual voice
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • The Art of the Start

It has been said that we are what we read.  It’s also been said that we are what we think about.  If you are in a business of your own…meaning that you are the business owner, the leader, the vision holder and direction maker; and you are a home-based business owner, meaning your business is essentially you…you are also the entire management system seeing that the vision is implemented and runs smoothly.  One way to achieve all this is to read.  Read uplifting and insightful words that keep you informed and positive.  Read that which keeps your mind on track and open to opportunities and possibilities.

Of the tests above, it really was a bit of a trick as all those titles are in my home.  Tests One through Three are just a portion of the titles in my husband’s various collections.  He’s a bit of a renaissance man as he has varied interests.  He is a senior software engineer who also has an interest in robotics.  He is an entomologist.  He is a diver and collector of fossils.  He has a deep love of space and everything to do with the moon landings…and now Mars.  Our home is full of books.

The final test above is a portion of the books in my home office/studio.  I’m an Independent Distributor with a direct selling company so that puts me in the category of home-based business person – and to aid in my business I read books by Robert Kiyosaki, Stephen Covey, Suze Orman, Jeffrey Gitomer, Donald Trump, Guy Kawasaki, Keith Cameron Smith and others.  I’m also an artist so my art library includes books on color, use of various media such as acrylics or colored pencil and books about other artists or art movements.  [well, I also have a love of mystery novels and have quite a collection of my favorite authors there, but that’s a different discussion]

“What we become depends upon what we read after all of the professors have finished with us.” – Thomas Carlyle

“Today a reader,  tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

“Books motivate us, teach us and encourage us.” – Linda C Smith

What books do you currently have in your library?  What books will you be putting in your library this coming New Year? 

biz books

biz books

 

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Question: do you even like your products?

Speaking about people who have a business that offers products or services, I wonder, do they even like their own products or services?  What if the answer was “no?”  What difference would it make to their success?

How can someone who has a direct selling business offer a product or service that he or she can’t get excited about?  I think it would be very hard to convice someone else to try your proudcts or service if you don’t use them and believe in them yourself.  Where would be your credibility?

Does this mean you have to whoop and hollar and jump around like some kind of fool to show how excited you are?  Maybe not so much.  But I do believe it means you show excitement.  I think it means:

  • You use your product – you are your first, best customer
  • You not only use your product, you are your first testimonial about it – you love to talk about the value you receive from it
  • You believe in it enough to talk about it to others – you are so excited about it you can’t wait to tell others

People don’t like to be “sold” products, they like to “buy” products, this is the mantra of sales genius Jeffrey Gitomer and it is so true. 

Be excited about your product or service.  Be willing to tell people why you like it and what benefit(s) it offers.  Give your product or service value.  Position it as something of value to have or use and there will be people who will be able to see that value for themselves….then they will buy it from you.

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