May 12

How To Be A Successful Direct Sales Mom

By Heather McHugh

If you had told me two years ago that I would be in direct sales, I would have laughed you down the street.   But now I can’t imagine doing anything else.  How else could I have my own business with very little startup and set my own hours. How did I get here?  Like so many moms who leave the 9-5 workplace to raise their children, I had dreams of returning one day.  Then reality set in.  How was I ever going to return?  I left an industry (music) that basically doesn’t exist anymore.  My kids still need their “mommy” and I don’t want to miss any part of their lives.  Plus we have no extended family here to help.  It would literally take a village to raise my boys.  A J-O-B wasn’t for me. But I missed contributing to the family income and also having adult conversations that weren’t based on my children’s lives.  Some days I felt like screaming “Hello! Remember me?! I had a career before kids.” By the time my youngest son was in school full-time, I needed something more for myself and my family.

I was looking for something…but what?  A part-time job would limit how I wanted to raise my family.  No more field trip volunteering or spontaneous play dates.  No more just being there to wipe the tears after a fall. Plus a job would mean having to answer to a boss again.  I’ve had some real crazies as bosses so I wasn’t looking forward to that aspect.

Then I stumbled upon an ad to partner with the Proactiv doctors in their new skincare company which was now in direct sales.  Hmmm, that sounded interesting but what did that really mean?  A friend of mine sold a nutritional supplement and I knew Avon and Tupperware but that was all I knew about direct sales.

Thankfully, in this glorious age of technology, I was able to quickly research this company and business model before even speaking to the consultant over the phone. I found out that direct selling has been around for 150 years. That billions of dollars are made every year in the U.S. from it.  That major financial advisors like Warren Buffett, Jim Cramer and Suze Orman all say direct selling is the wave of the future. That this company I was researching, Rodan + Fields, had an excellent business record.  That the doctors were women who were committed to helping other women become successful business entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs?  I liked that so much better than being someone’s employee.

I found out that the beauty of direct selling is it is what you make of it.  If you treat it like a hobby, you’ll get paid like a hobby.  But…if you treat it like a business, the sky’s the limit. I don’t know of any other business where you can make an unlimited income.  I get paid what I put into my business.  Some months are good, some months are great!

A few months into direct sales, I looked around and saw a lot of my friends were also creating their own financial Plan B through direct sales.  And they weren’t all stay at home soccer moms.  Some are lawyers, realtors, teachers, and executives.  All looking for something more in this recession and a way to work it around their current lives.  One friend sells Discovery Toys to get a discount on her kids’ toys.  Another friend sells Stella and Dot jewelry so she can combine her love of accessories and get paid to share it.  One local mom told me she is now looking into direct sales after her husband lost his job and she had to get a second job waitressing.  She said not only is she exhausted from being on her feet all day but she is too tired to appreciate her kids on her days off. Direct selling will be her way to escape the second job.

But don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all sunshine and lollipops working from home. Finding the time with kids can be tricky and distractions come up constantly.  I soon realized that this is my business and I needed to act like the CEO. I set my weekly work hours every Sunday night.  And that schedule varies week to week.  This week I know so far I have a doctor’s appointment and am chaperoning a preschool field trip. I’ll accommodate the other “emergencies” when they come up.  Not to mention fitting in the “regular” stuff: grocery store, baseball practices for both boys, baseball games, Taekwondo practice, school pick ups, school committees, homework, laundry, exercise, dinner…I think you get the picture.  Life is busy for everyone.  This is still a business and consistency is a must to be successful.

According to the Wall Street Journal, direct selling might be the country’s answer to the shrinking job market.  With the growth of the internet, having a home-based business is now easy for everyone especially moms.  Gone are the days of going door-to-door and bothering your friends and family.  With this new social economy, we are all connected with the push of a button.  Have you heard of Facebook and Twitter?!   It’s now easier than ever to build our businesses across the world through these networking sites.  With my smartphone and computer, I have a virtual franchise and a mobile office ready to meet with clients at the park or Starbucks.

Next time a small mom business owner invites you to listen to her business presentation or sample her products, take the time to really listen because:

“When you buy from a small mom business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage or a student pay for college.  Our customers are our shareholders – and they are the ones we strive to make happy. Thank you for supporting small business.” – Unknown

These days this mom doesn’t need a J-O-B because I own a business. I answer to no one but myself.  I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more times than I can count doing this business and it’s changed me for the better.

About the writer:  Heather McHugh is the mom to two fabulous boys, loving wife and, wait for it, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists business owner, https://hmchugh.myrandf.com. Most days Heather can be found running around doing errands and conducting business on her trusty iPhone. *This month I’m interviewing for two part-time positions on my team. Email me at hmchughrf@gmail.com to set up a interview to see if R+F is the right fit for you too.

May 12

Direct Selling: Testing The Methods Over Twenty Years

By Leigh Spittel

Direct Selling: I am certainly no stranger to the concept. In its
infancy, I began as an Avon Representative in the Summer of 1982, a
young woman, fresh out of high school and eager to make new customers
in my assigned sales territory, which just happened to be my
neighborhood. It was door to door cold calling at first, then visiting
in my customer’s homes: regularly for most, and occasionally for some,
on a two week campaign format. After two years, your customer’s needs
and preferences become very familiar and friendships form. You become
more than just a salesperson or neighbor, you become a trusted friend.

In the Summer of 1984, I moved on to direct sales with a different
product and a different sales environment.With over  half of my
Interior Design degree courses finished,  I became an Interior Design
Consultant in the Custom Design Studio at the immense Montgomery Ward
department store in downtown Baltimore, MD. As a consultant, I worked
both in the store studio, greeting interested customers, answering
questions and arranging appointments for future in home consultations.
Once in their home or office, I was sharing my newly formed knowledge
of custom made window treatments, bedspreads, upholstery and carpeting
as was applicable to their individual needs. Designing products to
solve individual needs while meeting  aesthetics became my new method
of direct selling, and personal trust was the bridge to success again.

In early January of 1985, I tried another form of direct selling, in
home party sales as a Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. I had
attended an in home party of a close friend, and with my sales
experience as an Avon Representative with similar products, I decided
to give it a try. In home beauty parties offer a unique direct selling
climate: a captive audience that is testing out the products before
purchasing them. The key to success here is to know the products so
that you can apply them to individual skin care needs, teach proper
and successful application techniques, and convey confidence in both
your knowledge and the customer’s ability to repeat the application
techniques satisfactorily on their own.

During this same time period, I began working part time at another
Interior Design firm in the Columbia Mall. This was a design store
most noted for their wallpaper trade, decorative accessories, custom
made floral arrangements and support Interior Design services. As
part-time sales personnel, I was limited to helping customers in the
store setting, or the full time design staff with their design
customers projects. After graduation in June 1985, I set my sights for
full time design opportunities.

The years of  Fall 1985 to Fall 1988 were filled with the experiences
of working full time in two design firms between Baltimore, MD and
Fort Wayne, IN. At both firms, I was the ” Girl Friday”, and handled
everything at each firm from the Interior Designer who visited homes
and businesses with Custom Design Products to Office Manager and
everything in between!. One firm had a public studio with store hours
and the other was a private studio. What remained the same was the
vast amount of  design  experience,knowledge and passion for my
profession. Trust in your consultant is the key to a successful
working relationship, friendships are forged, personal referrals and
“word of mouth” advertising becomes the model.earned. I even gave
advice to a recently widowed gentleman for tie and suit coordination
after his sofa upholstery was complete!

The twenty years since have been filled  with raising four children ,
managing a household, and being the family of a clergyman. Direct
sales and business skills were kept fresh with door to door sales of
Boy Scout popcorn and Girl Scout cookies with four children. Almost
two years ago, I became a Consultant for La Bella Baskets and began a
gift basket business of my own from home. I wanted to return to sales
and customer service while not sacrificing my family’s needs. While I
leaned on my direct selling experience from the past twenty with
offline sales and marketing , it has been the online marketing which
has produced the biggest learning curve for me in my entire life and
the most satisfying challenge ever! Learning new computer skills,
creating interesting social media marketing applications and writing
creatively to an online consumer base has intrigued, challenged and
sparked passion for a old form of direct selling with a new medium.
Still, no matter how different the format, the audience and the
technique, the enabler to success remains the same: Trust

 My name is Leigh Spittel, also known as La Bella Leigh on blogs and Twitter. I am an Interior Designer, Lutheran pastor’s wife and mother of four. I became an independent consultant for La Bella Baskets in July 2010 and own and operate my gift basket business from home. I enjoy reading, creative writing, spending time with my family, baking, dancing, taking long walks with my dog and playing board games. I enjoy the creative freedom to market my business and build a rapport among the popular social media sites with interesting photographic displays featuring  gifts from across my website. www.leighslovelygiftbaskets.com

Apr 12

MLM Hater turned Direct Sales Money-Maker

By Michaela Spaulding

So here I am, coming up on the 3 month anniversary of my enrollment into the Direct Sales company Thirty-One.  I (who have vowed for probably 20 years never to have anything to do with MLM, who instantly tuned out anyone who made mention of Direct Sales, who preached with religious fervor to anyone considering Direct Sales the message that getting a “real” job was the only way to make “real” money) am now that person who finds every excuse to tell complete strangers how excited I am about my Direct Sales company.

What caused the drastic turn-around? Looking back, it seems like one of those times where the sun, moon, stars, and all the planets aligned for one perfect moment.  At the time, what I saw was my impending lay-off from my high-stress government job, my desire to be a stay-at-home mom, and the friend who I had been buying Thirty-One products from for the past year doing very well with her business.  I told her that I wanted to sign up to get all of the products in the company’s enrollment kit at the discounted price (since I would be losing my job, after all).  I would sell enough to pay for my kit, but after that, I may just keep my products to myself and never bother selling again.  I kept my hopes that Thirty-One could be my ticket to being able to stay home a secret, just in case I wound up being the failure that I expected all Direct Sellers to eventually be.

My vehement opposition to all things “MLM” has caused me to work my business differently than the usually suggested ways.  Most companies teach new consultants to write out a list of their closest friends and relatives and to focus on marketing to and recruiting those people first.  To me, that has always been the biggest turn-off!  I hate having friends or family members trying to suck me into whatever company they’re with so that they can profit from my involvement! It makes me want to avoid those people like the plague.  I actually like my friends and (most) family members, so the idea of them wanting to avoid me motivates me to try something different.

Don’t get me wrong—all of my friends and family members know that I am selling (I wouldn’t want one of them to buy my product from someone else because they don’t know I sell it).  But I will never ASK them to buy anything, host a party, or sign up underneath me.  I do all of my ASKing to strangers.  Isn’t this so much harder? Not to me.  I’ll strike up conversations with strangers about unrelated topics and when I sense they are warming up to me, I’ll find a way to bring up my business.  The way I look at it, the worst thing that could happen is that they get offended that I am trying to market to them and they decide they don’t like me and wouldn’t want to be my friend.  Big deal! They weren’t my friend before I started to talking to them either, so what have I really lost? Not a thing.  But there is that small chance that they will be interested in my business and either buy from me, host for me, or join with me… in which case the gain is HUGE!

Whenever I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, I’m going to dive right in.  Now, I’m not going to pretend every single person I solicit responds favorably and I’m not going to pretend that I gain a new customer every single day using my “Talk to Strangers” plan.  The percentage of people who take an interest is low (I’d estimate it to be around 10% for me), but I do get customers and I don’t annoy my friends and family.  Oh, and I’m able to stay at home…

What non-traditional ways have you grown your Direct Sales Business?

Michaela Spaulding is an Independent Thirty-One Consultant. You can check out here store here: http://www.mythirtyone.com/Spaulding31/

Apr 12

Direct Selling Tips: Business and Family

By Awnya Boam, 

Being successful in Direct Selling is more of a science than it is just luck.  Here are a few tips that you can use in you Direct Selling business  to help you to be successful.

  1.  Manage your time wisely.  This breaks down into 2 areas.  Your business and your family time.

Business – You need to schedule the time that you will be working your business.  Your hours of operation.  The best part of owning your own direct sales business is that you can work when you want to, but you need to WORK.  When you are working, try to focus on money-making tasks.  It is easy to redesign your business cards or organize your contacts and customers, but these are not activities that will help you make money.  Divide your time so that you can do the behind the scenes activities that are important to your business as well as the activities that will help to make you successful.  Phone calls, hostess coaching, opportunity meetings, demonstrating at a party or event, delivering orders, and following up are some of the tasks that will boost your success level.

Family– Because you are working from home, when you want to, it is easy for kids and/or your spouse to think that just because you are home, you are theirs.  It is important to draw the line.  For young children, I suggest a visual reminder like a sombrero or another silly hat.  It needs to be something that will stand out and remind them that mommy is busy and that can be put away when you are off the clock.  For older children, try posting office hours on the office door along with a clock.  You could also try an “at work” sign on the door.

With setting boundaries, it is essential that you also respect the office hours.  When you get to the time you should be off, save what you are doing and walk away.  If you don’t respect your office hours, you cannot expect your family to.

  1. Systems – Systems are a certain way of accomplishing a task.  They save time, energy, and ensure that you complete the task the same way every time that you do it.  It also ensures that you don’t forget a step along the way.  For example, every night when I go to get ready for bed, I check the locks on the doors, turn out the lights, check on my sleeping kids, brush my teeth, do a little reading and then go to bed.  It has become second nature to me.  In this same way, hostess coaching, following up with leads, interviews with potential team members, and filling orders will take you less time and energy if you establish a system.  If you establish the use of systems in your business, you will also become more duplicatable.  It is much easier to outline a system that you use to accomplish tasks when you are training new team members than to let them figure it out for themselves.
  2. Training- At any level of your organization, it is important that you continue to seek out training and education.  Some companies are fabulous at offering all kinds of different training options and that is a great resource for you to utilize.  Whether you have this in your company or not, it is always a good idea to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.  Direct Selling is constantly changing and evolving and if you get stuck in a training rut, it could stifle the growth of your business.  Seek out trainers and speakers coming to you area.  A few great training resources that have regular free calls are  http://www.themindaware.com  and http://www.DSWA.org .
  3. Reward Yourself– Each and every one of us has a small child living inside of us.  It is this small child that likes us to have a good time, sneak an occasional treat, and even do silly things.  Sometimes as adults, it is easy to get caught up in the chores, house work and tasks we need to accomplish and that inner child is denied the fun and celebration that it needs to be happy.  We have all heard the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  My recommendation is to CELEBRATE!  Play, have fun, eat something incredibly not good for you!  Enjoy life.  When you do, your inner child will be quite and let you accomplish more.  The inner child can also be quite helpful when you need to accomplish a task as long as you tell it that the reward will come after the task is accomplished.  Take for example some party reminder calls.  If you have 25 calls to make, tell yourself that when all 25 calls are finished, you can eat that piece of chocolate cake that is calling to you from the fridge.  Once you have set that as the reward, you will be much more driven to get those calls completed.

As you implement these steps into your life and your Direct Selling business you will find yourself able to focus your time and energy more efficiently as well as enjoy the journey a little bit more.

Awnya Boam is the mother of 5 kids ages 9 and under.  In addition to all her motherly and housekeeping responsibilities, Awnya runs a successful website, 2 blogs and a growing Direct Selling business.  Awnya has a passion for the Direct Selling industry . She was awarded the prestigious Spirit of DSWA Award in 2010 by the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance and she loves to connect and support others in the Direct Selling industry.  Visit her website, http://www.Time4Felt.com, or her blog, http://www.MomsBizBuzz.com to further connect with her.



Apr 12

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Feb 12

Find Success in a home based Business

By Dawn Billings

Finding success; isn’t that what everyone dreams of?  Many people have turned to home based businesses in order to find the success they desire. While most have a dream, a hope and a wish that their new found business will succeed, people must realize that a home based business requires dedication, hard work, commitment and a great and relevant product or service.

 It doesn’t matter if you’re a consultant, and independent representative or work on the internet; it doesn’t matter if you sell make up, skin care, pots and pans, protein shakes or jewelry, a successful home based business takes organization and planning like all other businesses. If you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme or simple money maker, a home based business is probably not your answer. There are plenty of legitimate home business opportunities but they all require commitment and hard work.

Truly successful people “know” what they want and are willing to do what it takes to get there. And they don’t just “believe” in their imminent success, they know they will be successful, there is no doubt in their minds. This mind management is critical to success in everything you do. Successful people truly, unequivocally believe in their own success- they’re committed to it.

How do successful people do it, how do they find wealth while others are losing their patience? Well I believe there are no secrets to success, only secrets to living exceptionally. You have to learn to “live rich” before you can expect financial success.  When you look at successful entrepreneurs, the ones who people quote when talking about success, they have something more than money.  They carry within them an ideal about what it means to live rich. Sit down, get out a piece of paper and ask yourself, “What does it mean to “live rich” to me?” This list should be extensive, well thought out and carefully crafted. We are talking about your greatest dreams here, do not slight this assignment.

It’s hard to believe in, and find success,
if you don’t believe in yourself, your products and service
and other people’s need for you to introduce them
to what it is that you have to offer. 

Have you ever met a person who went from failure to success who didn’t have that unique something about their personality? Learn about your personality. Learn about the personalities of others. Success is a learned behavior, a learned way of life; the more you learn about yourself, the more you learn about what it means to “live rich”. The more you learn about what it means to “live rich” to you, the more focus, drive and determination you will have.

Despite past experiences or failures there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel for those who can let go of their fears. Letting go of fear is only possible when you are willing to reach out and take hold of something else, that something else is your belief in your capacity to live your dreams. Ask anyone and they will tell you, it is much more fun to hold on to your dreams than it is to hold on to your fears.

Successful people choose to fell happy about life and confident in their future, and their ability to influence their destiny. An article in Forbes Magazine tells us that- almost 2/3 of the worlds billionaires made their money from scratch, using nothing more than grit and determination to find success.

How to Find Success

Success boils down to how badly you want to be successful. Carve out your own path, learn who you are then be the best you can be, all the while emulate greatness? What do I mean by emulate greatness? I mean find someone who has succeeded wildly at what you want to succeed at, and emulate what they did, or still do.

Are you willing to change, grow and develop more perseverance? If not, if you can’t answer yes, that you are willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goals, then truthfully there is little reason to invest in a small business. Very few  successful people  made it  because of luck, it was their desire that saw them through.  If you are hungry for success, then you will grasp on to every nugget of opportunity, and others may see your success as luck, but you will know better, and so will the others like you.

It is in great part, our attitude, our confidence in “OURSELVES” and our products or services that are the most important determinants to our success. It isn’t about your formal education or your family’s money; instead it’s about how you look at opportunity and your own relationship to it. But it is also about our connections to others. This is especially true for women small business professionals. Business Networking is critical to success for both men and women because it allows you to expand your circle of influence, as well as learn so much more about what others are doing that you might collaborate with or learn from.

If you struggle with belief fill your mind and heart with success quotes and stories of inspiration. These motivational quotes help you find success; and help you strengthen your focus on positive outcomes.

We all hear the same voices, the ones telling you that you’re crazy for thinking you can be successful with a home based business, internet work or a writing career, the voices of mediocrity, the ones from people who are have given up on their dreams and think that you should too. And that is the final piece of the puzzle. Realizing, and then understanding, that the reason so many people don’t believe in your dream of success is because they don’t have one of their own.

Once you realize that you are different, and can achieve what you believe, you will be on the path to finding success. Don’t allow what others say or believe determine your fate. Thomas Edison was told by one of his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything…his teachers were wrong. Give yourself permission to never quit, believe in yourself and your capacity for success and you will surely find success.

About the Author: Dawn Billings, CEO and Founder of The Heart Link Women’s Network with over 200 women’s networking locations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and sponsored chapters in Pakistan and Costa Rica. Dawn is the author of over 25 books, and was named one of 80 emerging women leaders by Oprah Magazine and The White House Project. Dawn is also the creator of the Primary Colors Personality Test used to build strong teams and families around the world.