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I was reading through a Facebook page dedicated to Husbands of Thirty-One (H.O.Ts) and one of the guys asked the other guys what products they use to help promote their wife’s business, which started me thinking about this blog post!

4 Great Ways to Promote Your Wife’s Direct Sales Business:

1. Use Or Carry The Product!

It makes a ton of sense, if it’s at all possible to do so with your wife’s direct sales company, to actually use the product. With Thirty-One that means bags and accessories. They have many products in plain black and some are even marketed towards men. I love my leather and canvas messenger bag. If your wife sells products, there’s a good chance you can use something she has (maybe not so much for the Avon & Mary Kay husbands out there). Although guys sometimes need skin care products, too. I’ve recently started using the Unblemish line from Rodan + Fields which Holley sells. It’s really making an impressive difference for my intermittent acne problems.

Awesome Messenger Bag

This Thirty-One Gifts messenger bag looks great and I get compliments and questions every time I use it.

2. Wear Some Branding.

At National Conference for Thirty-One, there were tons of HOTs around. Often we’d be wearing our wife’s team T-shirt. Other times there were HOT-specific T-shirts. I try to wear these whenever I make a run to the grocery store or get my hair cut. People always ask what the T-shirt is about.

3. Carry Her Catalogs.

I try to keep a couple catalogs in the car at all times. You may want to keep some in your office or somewhere else convenient for you to be able to hand them out. You don’t want to be in a position of being able to get some potential business but not have something to make that happen. Mini-catalogs are great for this purpose as well.

4. Keep Her Business Cards In Your Wallet

I’m horrible about keeping my own business cards on me. Honestly, I’m not in a business where I solicit clients, generally. But I do try to keep some of Holley’s cards on me most of the time. I really need to make that all of the time.

The whole point of all of this is really just to get a conversation started. If someone sees you wearing a shirt that says “H.O.T.”, there’s a good chance their curiosity is going to overwhelm their aversion to talking to a stranger and they’ll just ask “What is that about?” Once that conversation is started, you’ll have an opportunity to talk about the company and it’s products. Keep it quick. You’re better off leaving them wanting to learn more about it. And that’s when you give them your wife’s business card and encourage them to call her to find out more. There are a million different ways to do something along these lines, and I’m sure pretty much anyone reading this is better at it than me.

Questions:

Girls: How can your guy expose people to your business? Share some creative ways or stories about it!

Guys: What lengths do you go to to get the word out about your wife’s business?


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The best place to start helping your wife with her direct sales business is to provide her with emotional support. Letting her know you support her having the business is the most important thing you can do at the beginning. If some of you haven’t been supportive up to this point, then now’s the time. 

Once you get the supportive husband role down, what are your “next steps?”

Honestly, there are no shortage of options, but here’s what I would suggest:

1. Learn about her business

I’m not talking broad specifics, here. By this, I mean look through the company’s website. There will be business training available for new consultants. You should look at everything they have available. For Thirty-One Gifts, this means getting to know www.ThirtyOneToday.com. (The consultants call it TOT). Whatever your direct sales business, the company wants every single consultant to be successful, so they’re going to have good quality training available. 

Spend time in her company’s “back office” to see what features it has. This may or may not be a strength for her, but you may notice useful things about it that she doesn’t.

The time you spend with this stuff will help you understand her business better. A lot of it comes down to learning the “lingo” of the business and it will help you to be able to talk to her about it and understand what she’s saying better.

2. Enter shows for her

After a party plan show, orders will need to be placed in the company’s computer system. I know guys in Thirty-One who literally place every show order for their wife, allowing her to spend her time calling people to make bookings, recruit new consultants to her team, or just spend time with the kids. Make sure you do a good job (getting orders incorrect is a sure way to undermine her business and her confidence in you). 

You may need to do some shows together until you get the hang of it. Also, you don’t necessarily have to do every show for her. Maybe it’s just something you do when she needs the help because she’s particularly busy. I do think it helps for you to enter shows at least from time to time so you know that part of the business and understand if she expresses some frustration with something.

Also, if by entering the orders yourself she can close out parties quicker, then it’s less likely she’ll run into end-of-the-month server issues and the like. 

3. Sort product

Every direct sales company is different. Some ask that the consultant buy inventory and sell through it. Some have you order everything and ship it directly to hostesses or customers. In Thirty-One it seems that most of the orders are delivered to the consultant in boxes. We get more boxes than you can shake a stick at. It takes time to sort through the product and place them in bags for each individual customer, but it’s an important part of the process. It’s definitely something any supportive husband can do. With other companies, it may be more about managing inventory and making sure she has plenty of the most popular items on hand.

4. Deliver product

So after that party is sorted and each customer’s items are ready for delivery, there’s an opportunity for you to deliver the items. Most of the times you can put everything in a box and deliver it to the hostess (and she can deliver the individual items to the appropriate party guest). Again, this is just a way you can take something off your wife’s plate.

In Closing…

Fundamentally, there’s a million ways you can directly help with her business, but you’re not going to be able to go and do parties for her. Every once in a while you may be able to get a recruit for her, but that’s not something you’ll be able to do on a monthly basis. Once you understand the business a little better (after starting with #1 above), you’ll be able start thinking about how you can help. What little things can you do to directly assist her? As long as you’re putting some thought into this (and discussing it with your wife, of course), there is no doubt you’ll find the best way(s) you can help. And it will make a differenceI

And remember, the reason you’re doing this isn’t because she can’t do it all herself. Of course she can. You’re doing it to show her that you support her. The stuff you do may allow her to get through a negative period in her business. Or it may just give her to motivation to take it to the next level. If she’s just starting out, you may be able to get different stuff out of the training materials that will help her out in a pinch and allow her to be successful in a way that she might have missed if she were doing it all on her own.

Also remember (and I don’t understand why many guys just don’t “get” this): everything you do to help HER also benefits YOU! And your whole family! There is no competition to see who can earn more money! You guys are a TEAM! So go out there and play hard together. You may be surprised at what you can accomplish!

Leading From Within

JasonC —  September 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

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So here I was, planning to do a blog post on keeping your taxes straight with your direct sales business. Pretty important stuff. But for some reason I got sidetracked with this other thought…

Are you doing all that you need to do as a leader in your own house?

It’s a common enough story, right? You have a guy who has the best of intentions to help his wife with her business, but what she sees him doing around the house isn’t exactly inspiring. Let’s face it, we all can probably do a better job in leadership in almost every aspect of our lives. And it all starts in your own house. And one thing I’m fairly certain is true: wives appreciate it and respect it tremendously when their husband decides to take an active leadership role within the home.

That’s what we are called to do in 1 Timothy 3: 4-5:

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

The part about managing his own household is pretty significant. What does that mean? It implies that one who doesn’t manage the home also isn’t likely to be able to care for the Church, either. The same could be said about managing or caring for your wife’s direct sales business, too.

Suggestions for Leading From Within Your Own Home:

Be intentional about leading your household.

No matter what you’re doing at work, the impact that you have at home is more significant and is definitely affecting people who are more significant in your life. Being present and consistent for your wife and children is going to have a huge impact on their foundation for life. Keeping that solid lets them venture out into the uncertainty of the world easier and more effectively.

Be intentional about maintaining your marriage.

The relationship you have with your wife is the most important relationship you have in your life! Without question! We’re supposed to put her and her needs before our own needs (and wants!). Spend time with her (dating shouldn’t stop just because you got married). Show her that you love her in the way(s) she needs. If this doesn’t come easy to you, check out The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. The title may be a little cheesy, but this is a fantastic book that can help your relationship.

Make good choices about home

So often guys get in the habit of sacrificing time at home in order to get ahead at work. Or to spend extra time with buddies hunting, fishing, golfing, etc. I’m not suggesting you never do any of that. But that shouldn’t be the choice you make every time. That sends a clear message to your wife and family of where they stand in the priority list.

Make good choices at home

Some guys think of home as a place they can just “let it all hang out.” I guess it can be. But if that means you lose control of your temper on a regular basis, you’re probably not actually having much success in “leading” your family. Same is true if you have a tendency to drink too much at home or curse all the time. I don’t want to come across as preachy here. But think about how other people would see your actions if they were a fly on the wall and try to make sure your actions tend more towards the “inspiring” than the “scary” side.

Lead sacrificially

This is probably the hardest one, but maybe the most important one. Sacrificial leaders put others before themselves. It may mean calling on the way home to see if you can pick up something on the way. It may mean missing “the game” so you can help with something important to someone in your house. But mainly it means putting the people you’re leading higher up on the priority list on a regular basis. Believe me, they’ll notice every time you do it.

When you’ve got your act together in your household, your relationships are going to be better there. That alone will go a long way toward helping her business. You’ll be taking a ton of stuff off her “worry list” just by being the guy she probably wants you to be. How much more likely is she going to be to want you to help her with her business when you’re doing a great job in the areas she sees every day?

Questions:

Girls: What do you think about this? Am I way off track?
Guys: Are you doing as good a job in your home as you are at work?

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Direct Sales Husband's Handbook

Of course there are tons of ways to help with your wife’s direct sales business. I’ve mentioned a few already in earlier posts and more will be coming after this. Today I wanted to talk about:

The Little Stuff…

Chances are good that you’ve run a business of some sort (or helped to do so) at some point in your past. Whether it was running a lemonade stand as a kid or anything more than that, you probably have some feel for what it means to run something.

One thing about Direct Sales is that it is very much a self-motivated industry. That makes for a great opportunity, and Holley and I know several girls in the industry who actually make SEVEN figures running their business. When you are highly self-motivated, you can absolutely run with it and make your wildest dreams come true (and beyond).

Remember, direct sales is, for the most part, about making your dreams come true, whether it’s 7 figures or financial wiggle-room, or getting debt-free.

But the self-motivation side of the business has it’s down-side too…

Not everybody is all that self-motivated

Shocker, I know.

We’ve all had side-projects from time to time that have just languished in the shadows because everything else in the world takes precedent or gets in the way. Maybe it’s just an inconvenient time to work on the project. Maybe there’s a little one screaming for your attention. Maybe your “real job” was a little too involved today and you just don’t feel like working it. Or maybe you would even after that rough day, but you need to mow. And take out the trash. And clean up your workspace. And grill steaks for dinner. And do laundry. That side project can wait until tomorrow.

Wait a second! Laundry? Did he really say “do laundry?” Do you see what I was getting at there? Your wife’s direct sales business is subject to all the same distractions and demotivators your side projects are. And then some. My wife would never let me get near the laundry (despite the fact that I’ve never ruined a single item of clothing). It’s just an example.

But every “Little Thing” you can take off her plate frees up some actual time, mental energy and real energy to work her direct sales business. Honestly, this applies to any endeavor or goal she sets.

Here’s Some Little Stuff You Can Take Off Her Plate:

1. Run an errand for her (getting party supplies, snacks, groceries for the house)

2. Cook for the family occasionally so she doesn’t have to do it.

3. Watch the kids (it’s a good idea to spend time with them and build her confidence in your kid-skills, too)

4. Clean something in the house, or maybe manage the kids as they do chores.

5. Deliver a show for her.

6. Run the kids to their activities.

7. Wash dishes (and put them away)

You see where I’m going here, right? It’s not about the specific thing. It’s about doing what needs to get done so she feels enabled to work her business. Some days she may need one thing done. Some days she may select “All of the above” as her option. What she needs you to do may be totally different from anything I’ve mentioned. Just try to be flexible so you can help battle her demotivates.

Question:

Girls: what little things seem to get in the way of you working your business?

Guys: (Just to make it fun) – What thing do you hope she NEVER asks you to do? What have you seen that really demotivates your wife that you can take off her plate?

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Guys: whatever your background or work situation, there’s a good chance you’ve learned a lot about “how things work.” Are you in the business world? Run your own business? Do a lot of reading? Whatever the origin, you probably have some knowledge or skillset that can help in direct sales.

I had a conversation with some friends through the direct sales business and we all agreed: when it comes to relationships, couples may not exactly be “opposites” but there is often a big difference in their strengths. That goes for life and business. When you start looking into helping, the first thing you should probably do is ask how she would like you to help. Chances are good that she’s been waiting on you to do just that.

Whatever she says, write that down. Depending on your wife’s style, she may be pretty direct about what she needs or she may be as vague as she can be. She may be a little apprehensive about you getting involved, and that’s ok. If she seems apprehensive or won’t give you concrete direction, then here are a few things to consider:

Take it kind of slow and make sure you aren’t pushy.

A lot of guys are very controlling (but none of them admit it). Be a little introspective and consider how you go about things. Your main job is to be supportive. Not to run her business for her or even tell her what to do. It is her business after all.

Ask her questions about her business and direction.

Maybe she just doesn’t know how you can help or what she needs. Again, this is a point where you need to focus on being supportive. Show her you care and are interested. Start asking questions about her business. How it runs and how she runs it for herself. In medicine we have this little oath we take that features prominently “First, do no harm…” Good advice for anyone.

Be observant.

What areas seem to be struggles for her. Think about how you can help in these areas. Again, don’t run her over, but look at some ways you can help and start conversations with her. One thing I love doing with Holley is problem solving together when she asks for help.

Identify her strengths and yours.

This is probably a good thing to contemplate on your own and then have a good healthy conversation about with your wife. You definitely want to find those areas where your strengths match her weaknesses. If your strengths are the same areas as her strengths, defer to her judgement whenever possible. But definitely maximize both party’s strengths.

Use your ingenuity.

If your area of business experience meshes well with her needs in her business and she’s receptive, then go for it! There’s a good chance you can work together and come up with great ideas that will help her business thrive.

Remember, this is her business.

You WANT it to be her business. Her business being successful is going to promote her self-esteem, and that’s a great thing for any woman. You getting involved in a helpful way will help boost her opinion of you as well, most likely. But this won’t happen if you run over her. It’s only going to happen if you work with her how she needs and she wants. So be cautious. We all know guys who get started with something and then they take it over. That won’t boost her ego or her opinion of you. It’s more likely to be demoralizing. So always make sure you defer to her on decisions. Have positive discussions. Show her that she is your first concern, not your idea. That will help protect your relationship, which is, after all, the most important thing you have going for you.

Question:

Girls: How do you wish your husband would help you with your business?

Guys: How did you (or how do you plan to) dip your toes in the water of helping in her business?

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National Conference Day 5 (Saturday) – Wrap Up

Day 5 of Thirty-One Gifts National Conference 2012 was called “Super Saturday” for the girls it meant more training classes. For the guys it meant H.O.T. classes! Last year there was a panel discussion for the first time. This year there was a panel discussion and two break-out classes. My estimate is that there were 250-300 guys in attendance (about 5 times last year).

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Scott Monroe, the original Husband of Thirty-One (H.O.T.)

The panel discussion involved a group of guys giving their perspectives on their wives’ businesses and telling about the changes they’ve seen in their wives over time due to Thirty-One. It was a good discussion for any of the guys who are new to getting involved with their wife’s business or new to direct sales. It was a pretty frank discussion and a couple of the guys admitted they were pretty negative about the opportunity at first. Hopefully next year they’ll open this up to questions from the audience.

Panel Discussion Picture

8 H.O.T.s talking about their role in their wives’ Thirty-One Business.

After the panel discussion, there were two breakout options: Business class and emotional support class.

This year I attended the “business” class. This was an opportunity to hear about the business of Thirty-One from the President of the company (Andy Neri) and some of the financial guys. They had some useful statistics and projections for their company and there was plenty of opportunity to ask questions about their projections for the H.O.T.s in attendance. This was a great option for guys who are more involved in helping manage the business side of their wife’s business.

The other class was more about “how to support your wife.” Honestly, I think this was more highly attended than the business class. One of my buddies went to that class, so I’m going to review his notes as soon as he gets them to me (Hint, hint, Ethan!)

Support Class

Support Class – Roughly half of the guys present for H.O.T. training.

No matter which way you went, there was a ton of opportunity to learn about the business and talk to other guys to see what they’re doing for their wife. As you create connections, there’s a ton you can learn from the other guys, and going to NC is about the only way you’re likely to meet some of these guys because we’re all spread out over the entire country. You’ll also meet guys whose lives have been changed tremendously because of the direct sales business. I know guys in Thirty-One (HOTs) who have been retired by their wife so they can help full-time or do something else they love. Others are now debt-free or on their way to it. Thirty-One truly is a great opportunity, and I’m sure other companies do the same.

Linn Jason & Ed

Linn, me, and Ed are all in the same Thirty-One downline with S.E.D. wives.

So, overall I would say Thirty-One Gifts National Conference 2012 was 100% worth my time. As a full-time physician, my time is a scarce commodity, but this was totally worth it. Getting to be personally involved in my wife’s business is an amazing thing. Making friends outside of medicine is a huge bonus and very rewarding on a personal level. Connecting with Holley’s team gets more fun every year. Catching the excitement for the business (or renewing it, anyway) is a great feeling. And even if none of that were such a big deal, being there with and for Holley made it worthwhile 110% by itself alone.

Question:

What questions do you have about how to help your wife and support her business. Or even help run it?

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It’s that time of year when the women of Thirty-One gather together by the thousands for their National Conference (NC). This year that means over 16,000 consultants are invading the city of Atlanta to attend classes, meet other consultants and get energized for their Thirty-one business.

This is my second year attending NC, though my wife has been, I believe, to every one of them. Previous NC’s have been held in Columbus, OH (the city of Thirty-One’s home office), Orlando, and Chattanooga. My goal here is to give a bit of a “guy’s perspective” on this whole conference thing with short posts each day.

Last year’s NC was an eye-opening experience. And that conference had about 6000 attendees. But, for me, it was a great experience. I met so many girls on Holley’s team and met several of her Thirty-One friends as well. Just having the opportunity to put faces to the names I hear on a regular basis made it worthwhile. It was many of the girls’ first opportunity to meet me as well.

Then there were also opportunities to meet other H.O.T.s (husbands of Thirty-One). I’m not going to say there were a huge number of guys at NC last year, but apparently there were more than previous years. I can al ready tell there are mo re here this year than last. There was even a session for. The HOTs where we had a panel discussion and got to see what being involved with Thirty-One meant from a husband’s perspective.

Top 5 Reasons For a Husband to Attend National Conference

  • To meet the other consultants on your wife’s team
  • To help her with any of the things she might need done during NC
  • Team Photographer!
  • Networking opportunities with other guys
  • Attend classes and learn how you can help
  • So far this year, we’ve checked in, Holley registered for conference, I met up with her team while she did that, and we had a team dinner at Cheesecake Factory in Buckhead. From that experience I have two recommendations for you guys:

    1. Don’t get the Baja Fresh Chicken Tacos at CF. They were filling but very bland.
    2. Try not to sit at the middle of a table surrounded by 18 girls. It’s overwhelming and hard to stick with any one conversation as they’re hitting you from both sides and across the table.

    Question

    Guys: share your experience(s) attending your wife’s National Conference. Was it worthwhile to you (or her)?
    Girls: Why do you wish your husband would come to conference with you?

    Are you involved in direct sales? Is your wife?

    What would you like to hear about in regards to this topic? What problems have you noticed? Where would you like to see him helping you? For the guys, where have you had success helping your direct sales wife?

    While I have an outline of stuff to write about on here, I’d love to hear what the girls and guys out there would like to see covered here.

    Just sayin’

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    This is another installment in my Direct Sales Husband Series aimed at both the ladies of the direct sales industry and their husbands.

    Getting Involved – Getting His Feet Wet

    The sad fact is that so many men do not support their wife in their direct sales business. There are tons of misconceptions about the business and I’ve touched on this in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. But because of all of this, we need to talk a little bit about getting your husband involved in a positive way.

    Start from the top

    Not every leader is going to be able to do this, but if you already have a husband who is positive about your business, there are at least 2 main ways to get the ball rolling:

    Get him in front of your team

    Modeling is a powerful tool in business, parenting, and any other leadership position. Once your husband is being supportive behind the scenes, it’s time to get him in front of your team. Are your girls who struggle with unsupportive spouses even going to have a concept that it’s possible without seeing it? I can tell you from personal experience that sust getting him in front of your girls is going to make an impact.

    In addition to the behind-the scenes stuff I do for Holley, she likes to get me involved in meetings. In Thirty-One they have Celebrate & Connect meetings every other month. I don’t do a whole lot, mostly stuff that falls into my area of interest like setting up the video on the TV or computer or projector. Sometimes I make playlists and get the music going before the meeting really starts and afterwards when people are just chatting. I’m the official Team Cox photographer and often those pictures end up in the newsletter. It’s just little stuff like that. But in an important way, it shows every girl there what it can look like to have a supportive husband.

    Holley travels to one of her director’s C&C meetings a few times a year. She does a lottery to determine which one to attend (her team is spread out across the country). The first time she did this, I was working and couldn’t go. Because I’ve been so involved, the girls were kind of disappointed. They actually LIKE having me there!

    Get the guys to network

    If you can start getting your husband’s feet wet attending events, then you can start asking your team to bring their husbands as well. Those connections are a great way for the positive, supportive hubbies to meet the other husbands who are either new, or have some degree of skepticism. When he sees another guy who has bought-in, it makes the whole thing more legitimate in his eyes and breaks down those barriers and misconceptions.

    Last year was my first trip to Thirty-One National Conference and I met so many girls from Holley’s team. It was a great experience. While there, I also met several other husbands of Thirty-One. Since then there’s even a Facebook group for HOT’s (Husbands Of ThirtyOne). Getting together with other guys who are supportive of their wife’s business has been eye-opening. There are so many ways to help her and these connections are great for finding this out. I highly recommend taking your HOT, or direct sales husband with you to your convention to meet other supportive husbands.

    Question:

    What is your first step in getting your husband involved with your direct sales business? Are you doing it or are you anxious about it? 

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    See Part 2 for ideas on getting Buy-In from your husband for your business.

    General Support

    The first two parts of this series were directed more for the ladies who have the direct sales business. Of course I hope any guys reading this will go back and read those posts, and the ladies should read these upcoming posts as well. But at this point, I’m going to start getting a little more directed at the guys them

    Over time, I’ll be covering many specific ideas on exactly what you can do to help your wife and her business, but today let’s talk in generalities. Honestly, these are probably the most important things you can do that will not only help her business, but will also likely help your relationship. Let’s face it, guys, is there really a time where we don’t need a little (or a lot) of help in that area? For many guys, these are the hardest things to do. But for those guys, you need to understand that these are things your wife needs from you. They will help free her to feel comfortable with doing what she needs to do to make the business successful and stick with it.

    Attitude

    It’s probably a good idea to think a little bit about your personal attitude towards your wife’s business. We need to start with ourself because this needs to be genuine. So if you have any latent/passive attitudes that are negative, that’s the first place to start. If your attitude is bad, that is going to leak out in your words and actions. It’s unavoidable.

    Then, if we keep our own attitude positive and healthy about what she is doing, we can get out of our own way and do what we want to do – help and support our wife. This will also get us out of HER way and allow her to use her own skills and instincts to their fullest extent. She’s a lot more likely to be successful if she feels supported.

    Emotional Support

    Every wife needs emotional support to operate at her highest level. Feeling loved and supported will go a long way towards motivating her indirectly. This is bound to be the effect of maintaining a good attitude about her and her business.

    Motivation

    Direct motivation is usually appreciated and helpful. It’s especially important when your wife is feeling discouraged. Direct sales can be a tough business. It is based on relationships and depending on hundreds of factors (that, let’s face it guys, about which we have not the slightest clue) there are bound to be ups & downs. Getting parties/sales/recruits can be hard. Moving makes it harder. The economy comes into play.

    In my time with Holley, there have been several times that she was on the edge of “giving up.” She’s the 11th consultant to ever sign with Thirty-One and has been doing it 8 years, but she still goes through these times. That’s when it’s important for me to step in and lift her up. To step up my “game” so to speak.

    Beware the temptation to become overly aggressive in this area. Too much “motivation” gets viewed as being “pushy” or ”nagging.” She probably hates that feeling as much as you do.

    Accountability

    Setting goals is an important part of any business or personal achievement. Helping her to remain accountable to the goals she sets herself (in a gentle, positive fashion) will help her achieve her dreams. Again, this is not an area to be pushy, preachy, or nagging. Be careful. Make sure you are doing this in a supportive fashion.

    Question:

    What are some other ways that guys can, in general, be supportive of their wife’s business? What things do you do that she appreciates along these lines?