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Around this time every year I see a pattern start taking effect in the direct sales business. The months of September, October, and November (especially early) are a flurry of activity. Everyone’s having success. It’s a great time to sell, to recruit, and to promote. Honestly, autumn in the direct sales business is a wonderful time.

But towards the end of November and early in December these are the things I hear:

1. “It’s hard to get a party in December, everyone’s so busy.”

2. “I’m too busy to have parties! We have so much family stuff going on!”

3. “There are just too many distractions! It’s so hard to run my business right now!”

4. “I’m absolutely worn out from the last couple of months! I’m just tired right now.”

5. “I’m just going to take a break for the next month or so and then I’ll get ‘right back to it.’”

And you know what, a lot of that is true.

But BEWARE! There are pitfalls here…

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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World by Joel Salatin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Folks, This Ain’t Normal is an excellent exposition on what is wrong with our nation’s farming and food infrastructure system. If you participate in big agriculture (the industrial agriculture complex), you’ll probably hate this book.

But if you’re an individual who is focusing on feeding your family. Raising your children to be healthy. Providing SAFE food for them, then reading this book is not only essential, but is a call to action in the political realm.

The first step in the process is becoming educated. Being enlightened to the fact that there is a problem, a major problem, with the way the food system in America works. Just knowing that there is a problem opens one’s eyes to see what comes next. The problem is that “the system” in America is set up for the profit and benefit of big agriculture. NOT for the benefit of the consumer (which is the mistaken understanding that most people have). And that creates a false sense of safety and therefore compliance in the sheeple of America who just buy what’s available in the supermarket, assuming it is safe and of high quality.

The second step in the process is to learn more about WHY there are problems, the nature of those problems, and how we got there in the first place. Learning about the evens of the past century or so which resulted in the U.S. Government creating oversight of America’s food production. And the way those regulations severely hurt the American farmer while padding the profits of big agricultural business. The way the federal government has actually set legal precedent that says you, an individual, do not actually have the right and freedom to choose what you eat. And how regulations limit both the quality of food available to you and prejudicially infringe on the ability of small farms and farmers to enter the market.

The third step in the process is to see that there is an emerging movement to create change. Once educated, we the people still have in our power the ability to reclaim this government for the good of the people (as opposed to the good of big business). And this book is definitely a call to action to that goal.

Joel Salatin writes with an excellent easy-to-read style. There is plenty of fact and tons of humorous real-world examples to illustrate exactly what is going on in our food system. This book is genuinely a fun read.

As you can tell, I’m fired up about the content of the book. I don’t see how anyone could read this (unless they are part of Big Ag) and NOT be fired up in the same way. We all want good food. Safe food. Healthy food. And after reading Folks, This Ain’t Normal, your eyes will be forever opened to the fact that our very own government is set up against this very goal, while claiming they are doing us a service. And the lack of personal responsibility that pervades our culture HAS TO CHANGE. Maybe a little education will do the trick.

Read this book!

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Check out Part 1 of this series for answers to a number of common questions.

Running a business may seem like a daunting task for someone who has never done it before. Especially when you hear stories on a regular basis of people starting up a small business only to find it actually loses them money. And more money the longer they’re in it.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Choosing the right company goes a long way, and there are several good ones out there. Thirty-One Gifts is a great example.  Then follow these pretty simple rules to avoid getting in over your head:

7 Rules For Running Your Direct Sales Business On A Shoestring:

1. Don’t spend money on anything in the business unless the business generates income  to purchase it.

2. Don’t buy (and show) products people don’t want!

3. Host your own in-home parties using yourself as the hostess.

4. Talk to other consultants, find out what expenses they think is actually worth the cost.

5. Make use of every incentive the company offers.

6. Fundraisers are your friend!

7. Make a budget for your business, and stick to it!

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Now, let’s dig into each of these a little deeper:

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If you’ve been reading my blog over any appreciable amount of time, you’ve heard me go on about how important it is to run your direct sales business like an actual business (as opposed to a hobby). Recently I was reading an interesting question on Facebook that went something along these lines (and this is specifically about Thirty-One gifts):

Do you have to invest money into the business (over and above the starter kit) in order to be successful?

The answer is “Yes, and no.” (Of course!) And the question got me thinking about how a direct sales business can be run like a business and with the least (or at least reasonably little) investment from the consultant.

Let me spend a little time explaining what I mean…

Thirty-One Gifts New Consultant Kit

An early Thirty-One new consultant sign-up kit. Oh, how times have changed!

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I’ve blogged before about setting goals and how important that is to the success of your business. But the idea I’ll cover here is subtly different. Today I’m going to talk about the importance of creating your own definition of success.

One thing I’ve noticed in the direct sales industry is that so many women let other people define “success” for them. Whether that means society, family, friends, or co-workers. Whenever you’re letting someone else define success for you, it creates an empty or hollow end point. The sense of achievement you get from accomplishing something big will never really be there when you let someone else define your success point.

Common Pitfalls For Defining Success In Direct Sales:

1. Comparing yourself and your business to another person’s business.

This is especially true when girls who are either new in the business or who’ve recently become interested in working their business “hard” start looking at the superstars in their company. There is a temptation to compare themselves and create this expectation that they’ll be able to do the same. Most of the time, this is just plain unreasonable. For instance, going from consulting level to director and then senior director (in other words promoting multiple levels) within a short period of time.

This is a dangerous trap. Your situation is almost certainly different from theirs, whether that be your location or life situation.

Holley & Traci Strutting

Holley & Traci strutting across stage in recognition for earning the leadership incentive trip to Cancun last July.

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What does it take to be successful in direct sales?

Do you have to have a ton of friends? Be super smart? Highly motivated (or self-motivated)? Do you need to have money to make money? How about spending tons of time on the business? A marketing degree? Do you have to start early with the company (getting in on the ground level)? 

While I’m sure any of the above factors (with the exception of having money to make money) can certainly be beneficial, none of them are necessary. 

Dogwood in Bloom

So, what IS necessary to be successful in direct sales?

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Check out Top Reasons Direct Sales Consultants Fail (Part 1) if you haven’t read that already. Today we’ll finish discussing the main reasons why those people in direct sales end up leaving their business.

There’s a widely-spread statistic that says 95% of people who start a direct sales business fail. That’s pretty staggering. 19 out of 20 people who start in direct sales end up quitting. Wow. I’ve also read that the average consultant sticks with a company less than 2 years. Those are pretty sobering, depressing claims. So, why is it that way? I’m not entirely convinced these statistics are true. But if it is, how can we avoid this outcome?

Top Reasons Direct Sales Consultants Fail

1. Lack of Support

2. Lack of Knowledge

3. Running the Business Like a Hobby

4. Bad Product Fit

5. Bad Business Model Fit

6. Life Happens

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it covers the majority of cases. Yesterday we covered Lack of Support, Lack of Knowledge, and Running the Business Like a Hobby. Today, we’ll finish up with Bad Product Fit, Bad Business Model Fit, and Life Happens.

Rooty path

The path to success (or failure) is often bumpy. Stumbling is part of the process. Just get up, wipe yourself off, and get back to work!

 

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We recently covered some of the main reasons women sign up to run their own direct sales business. Today we’ll discuss the main reasons why those people in direct sales end up leaving their business.

There’s a widely-spread statistic that says 95% of people who start a direct sales business fail. That’s pretty staggering. 19 out of 20 people who start in direct sales end up quitting. Wow. I’ve also read that the average consultant sticks with a company less than 2 years. Those are pretty sobering, depressing claims. So, why is it that way? I’m not entirely convinced these statistics are true. But if it is, how can we avoid this outcome?

Top Reasons Direct Sales Consultants Fail

1. Lack of Support

2. Lack of Knowledge

3. Running the Business Like a Hobby

4. Bad Product Fit

5. Bad Business Model Fit

6. Life Happens

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it covers the majority of cases. Let’s take some time and briefly discuss each of these.

Fork in the path

There’s a fork in the path… which direction leads to direct sales success and which leads to failure?

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Many guys out there have never put a moment’s thought into this question: Why did my wife join that direct sales company? If you’re one of those guys, this post is for you. If you’re a lady who has stumbled upon this post, maybe you’re looking into direct sales. Check this out and see if it strikes a chord with you.

So, why do ladies sign up for direct sales?

In my experience and reading, there are 4 major reasons:

1. They love the product the company sells.
2. It’s an opportunity to socialize and meet new people.
3. It’s a great way to exercise an entrepreneurial spirit.
4. They want extra income.

Phillips Panorama

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Perfectionism Is Your Enemy

JasonC —  January 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Are you a perfectionist by nature? I certainly am, and for much of my life, that’s served me very well. My wife is also a perfectionist. If someone did a study of all entrepreneurs, I think that study would so the majority of them have perfectionist tendencies.

Perfectionism is that little thing inside of you that strives to do a better job. That goes for school, work, and life in general. Certainly it can be a tool for good. If you are or know a perfectionist, you know exactly what I mean.

But in working with my wife with her small business, I’ve definitely noticed there definitely is a dark side to perfectionism.

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