Direct Sales: Your Business Your Way Monday, Apr 3 2017 

My husband, Marshall, used to say that sales is the one business that has no limits. You control your amount of income and the number of hours you want to put into your career.

When my children were young, I sold Avon and Tupperware. These companies allowed me to make some good money with the flexibility needed while caring for three little ones.

Today we have many home-based direct sales businesses to choose from. Along with some personal contact, such as home parties, most lean more toward the utilization of social media than door-to-door sales as Avon once did. But they all offer an opportunity to own a business, be your own boss, and make it as successful as you want it to be.

Every company has their own twist in this very competitive market. For example, Beautycounter offers safer cosmetics and personal care products. Pampered Chef is known for quality kitchen items. And my favorite, Young Living, carries a wide-range of pure essential oils. I promote Young Living while also pursuing my writing career, public speaking, and working as a trade rep for my publisher.  (If you decide to purchase or join Young Living, please use my full name as a reference – Mary Doyle Brodien)

Other home-based direct sales companies include Scentsy, Jamberry, Younique, tastefullysimple, 31 Bags, Norwex, Shaklee, Damsel in Defense, Stella & Dot, Rodan & Fields, Origami Owl, Lilla Rose, and Mary Kay.

Self-employment comes with as many challenges as there are rewards. If you’re interested in following the direct-sales path, here are some points to consider:

  • Will you be selling a product you personally use and value?
  • Is there a start-up fee or requirement?
  • Must you meet a certain quota?
  • Do you have friends, family members, and neighbors who you believe will be interested in what you sell?
  • Are you comfortable reaching out and talking up the products you sell?
  • Are you disciplined enough to market, sell, collect, and maintain records for tax purposes?
  • Do you want to work this business as your part-time or full-time employment?
  • If this is your sole income, can you support yourself when sales are low or non-existent?
  • Can you afford your own medical insurance?
  • Are the hours you hope to work this job doable with your current family/employment situation?

(To see my posts on topics relating to my book, go to Mary K Doyle Books.)

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Your Business Your Way Sunday, Apr 3 2016 

DSCN3746

My husband, Marshall, was a born pitchman. He easily could entice customers to happily empty their wallets on the products he showed them. He often said that he loved the challenge of sales because it is a profession that has no limits to your income.

If you enjoy sales and are interested in building your own business, consider joining a movement to bring safe products into the hands of everyone. Become a Beautycounter consultant and your income is only limited by your earning desire. Put in a handful of hours a week for some fun money. Make it your career, and you will earn a very comfortable living on our generous compensation plan. Some of our 11,000 consultants earn as much as 6 figures.

Once customers try our products, they’re hooked. They not only return to replenish the products they use, they’re eager to try others. Beyond the assurance of being among the safest available, these products perform fabulously. Our line is continuously increasing and appropriate for babies to adults. And we have cosmetics for the look you want from everyday to runway.

Beautycounter is a thriving three-year-old company that covers the United States and Canada with a mission to offer exceptional personal care products without known toxins and dangerous chemicals. Believe it or not, this is not the industry norm.We have chosen to ban the use of more than 1,500 ingredients deemed even marginally unsafe.You can see our entire product line and list of ingredients here on our site.

Contact me if you want to have your own business, be a part of an important mission, offer amazing products, and enjoy the camaraderie of a friendly and fun team of peers and mentors. I love this company and am happy to tell you more!

©2016, Mary K Doyle

 

Statistics and Magician’s Wife Tuesday, Feb 23 2016 

 

Storytelling throughout history was the passing on of the essence of an event. Specific details were not necessary. It was a person’s emotional interpretation of a significant occurrence. The heart of the story was what was important.

These stories would get passed down by word of mouth, so they altered along the way. I recently heard on the science program, Nova, that every time we recall a memory, we edit it. It becomes less and less accurate because our imagination fills in bits and pieces of things that may have happened, and then those imagined additions become part of the memory.

Today, we do more reporting than storytelling. We want specific details—time, dates, and numbers. When I wrote Sunday feature articles for the Chicago Tribune, three things were to be included: real voices, meaningful quotes, and statistics. Stories needed to be about people with real concerns, told in their own words, and backed up with relevant data.

Statics are an important element in substantiating a story. They tell a level of truth in numbers. Although it was my least favorite college class, I do realize its significance from sports and politics to science and demographics. However, in all reality, even those numbers are a matter of interpretation and can be twisted.

WordPress offers a stats page for each of my blogs. It shows the number of views, likes, visitors, and comments for every post and even where those viewers are located. These numbers give me an idea of who is reading my blogs and whether they are of interest to anyone. There is a wide variation of numbers for many reasons including relevancy of content, writing style, and the time and day of posting.

My most viewed post ran back on August 19, 2013. It had 777 views on WordPress plus countless others via Facebook reposting.

For those who might like to re-read it, and those who never saw it, here it is again:Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magicians Wife

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Best Business Advice Tuesday, May 20 2014 

Experience has taught me that there are no results without action. You have to dream, develop your idea through research and investigation, and then make it happen with time and effort.

Nearly 15 years ago when I interviewed author/entrepreneur/nurse/public speaker Carol Havey for my book, Mentoring Heroes, she said she based her seminars on three key steps to decision-making. These steps are:

  1. Figure out what you really want.
  2. Consider what it will take to get it.
  3. Decide if you are willing to pay the price.

Carol’s steps sound simple, but there are many people who go into business without thinking these things through to begin with and then cannot, or do not want to, do what they need to do to achieve their goal.

Another one of the 52 women highlighted in Mentoring Heroes, Harriet Gerber Lewis, who was Chairman of the Board of Gerber Plumbing Fixtures, Corp., said one of the most important business lessons she learned from her father was to respect every employee. Each one is an integral part to the company’s success.

Following are some other good business pointers, mostly from my family. Please comment and add your own to the list:

  • Never tell a customer “No.” Give them another option. If they ask if we print posters, which technically we do not, tell them the largest size we print and that it fits in a standard-sized frame. (Photographer Ron Grey)
  • If someone else can do it, so can you. (My husband, Marshall Brodien, creator of all TV Magic products)
  • You don’t get the order if you don’t ask for it. (My sister, Patti Brewer, financial advisor)
  • Don’t spend more on your business than you make in profit. (My practical father, John Doyle, who was an engineer for the phone company)
  • At the end of the day, ask yourself what you’ve learned. If you want to succeed, you can’t remain stagnant. You have to learn, apply, and grow. (My daughter, Lisa Kluge, pharmaceutical rep)
  • Don’t assume you know what the customer wants. Ask questions, listen, and be honest. (My son-in-law, Chief Petty Officer, Steven Lukasiewicz, USN)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

There’s Always Laundry Friday, Nov 15 2013 

Someone once said that she wanted laundry to count. When asked what she did that day, she said she should be able to add laundry to the list.

Many of us wash, dry, fold, and put away a load or two of laundry every day. It’s something that’s added to the countless other activities we run around doing. But it isn’t the type of thing we tell others. When asked about our day, we don’t respond, “Great. I threw in a load of laundry.” Unless we spent the day in the laundry room, we don’t consider it mentionable.

The necessary, mundane, routine activities consume most of our time and are vital to getting from one day to the next, and yet, don’t seem to count. It is as if our whole day, our whole life is insignificant. So how do we make it all meaningful?

In addition to our outside work, ministries, and activities, there is an endless list of tasks that keep a household running: caregiving, laundry, cooking, cleaning, house maintenance, grocery shopping, business calls, and so many errands. If we have children there is an extensive list involved with them as well.

Perhaps acknowledging the importance of our work begins with a title. Years ago women came up with “Domestic Goddess” to replace housewife and homemaker. It’s not a bad name but does not recognize the men who fill this position. An appropriate title that recognizes both men and women and all of the responsibilities involved is needed.

Family CEO or President are starters but the position is bigger than that because, not only are we overseeing all of the work, we also must complete most it ourselves. We are more than President, more than CEO.

A new friend recently told me she is considered essential to her company. So perhaps that is our title. Essential. If we are completing all of these vital responsibilities, we are – Essential.

As the saying from Saturday Night Live once went, “Now aren’t we special!”

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Accountability for Success Tuesday, Jun 11 2013 

Building a profitable business appears more challenging today but taking a different approach may turn all of that around.

Originally published in 1994, The Oz Principle by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman continues to make a valid point that is useful personally as well as professionally. The premise is that businesses are not successful because we as individuals and organizations are not accountable. We don’t recognize and take responsibility for our shortcomings and failures.

Instead, we look outside of ourselves at all the challenges and obstacles. We blame the economy, unproductive employees, vendors, the government – basically anyone and anything other than ourselves for the decline.

According to the authors, this  woe-is-me mentality is unproductive and deems ourselves as victims. It focuses on what difficult things are happening to us, how impossible the situation is. We see ourselves as trapped, stifled, and unable to succeed. We then are unable to make the necessary changes for success.

On the other hand, if we honestly assess the situation and take responsibility for our decisions, actions, or non-actions we can rectify the problems and move into a more positive position. The questions would then be, what could I have done differently? What can I do now? And then we need to take action.

Yes, this means that we have to be accountable for our mistakes but we no longer are victims. When every employee is allowed and encouraged to take ownership and is involved, the success of the organization and every employee is inevitable.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Business Cards Monday, Mar 18 2013 

Business Cards

Making it easy for people to do what you want them to do is a secret to success. Business cards are one such way of achieving this. If you want someone to do business with you, put your contact information in their hands. Allow them to keep you in mind when they need your services.

Business cards are simple networking tools that need only contain your name, phone number, email address, and website address, if you have one. I also include a list of my books and blogs on the back of my card.

Business Card.Back

Card design should reflect your business. If you work in the arts and entertainment fields you may want a burst of color or design but traditional business should be professional and uncluttered. Again, the point is having information that is clear and easy to read.

The practice of exchanging cards began in France in the early 1800s and quickly spread through Europe. Victorian cards were simple, but lovely. Most were handwritten and designed with only a person’s name and an artistic touch. They were known as calling cards because they were passed on with the desire to call on someone in the near future and left on a silver plate in an entry if the person to be called upon was not home.

As we move towards a “paperless” society, today’s type of cards are phasing out to some extent. Some people prefer to transmit data directly into another person’s phone eliminating the waste and clutter of the cards.

There is a point to this but the tangible reminder that the card serves and the ability to visibly see your name continues to be valuable. When left on a desk or posted on the refrigerator the handy number is the one we call.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Business – Customers = 0 Business Thursday, Sep 6 2012 

Sales reps know the key to increasing sales is to build relationships with their clients. We like buying from people we like.

In a post dated 8/29/12 by Christine Crandall on Forbes.com, Crandell writes that Fortune 100 buyers are relationship focused. She says that regardless of the industry, organizations place more importance on their vendor relationships than how well the product or service performs. This finding applies to the everyday consumer as well.

Certainly the product must stand on its own. But a successful business pairs a superior product with excellent customer service.

In a previous post (“Kitchen Rain” posted July 12, 2012) I listed several companies I use regularly. I rely on them year after year because they consistently complete a job as agreed and at a fair price.

I also feel comfortable with them in my home. There is a mutual respect between business owners, employees, and me. I like these people.

However it is not uncommon for small business owners to find it challenging to handle the business end while also physically providing the service. We recently had a major project done here where the main part of the work was done very well but the entire job was not completed. I left multiple phone messages over several weeks asking when the owner planned to return.

I later learned the owner was injured on another job and unable to work. His absence was for a legitimate reason but he left me wondering if the work would ever be finished. A couple of phone calls from him to inform and update me would have alleviated my concerns.

Customers want to feel special, as if their business matters to the owner. We want to be greeted with a smile when walking into a store or restaurant. We want the owner or employee to answer their phone, complete projects in a timely manner and as promised, and send an accurate bill within a reasonable amount of time. Also, it is a significant plus if they remember us in some way. These elements are crucial in a successful business no matter how large or small.

It’s simple, really. It’s called professionalism. Actually it is common courtesy.

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

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