Want to know what it takes to be successful in your direct sales business? Read from Barbara Neuzil, a flourishing Tupperware Director of Team Aspire. She provides some valuable tips inspired by her own experiences within her direct sales business. Everything written from here on forward are in her own words. Enjoy. ~~ Some Things I Have Learned By Barbara Neuzil, Tupperware Director of Team Aspire Owner of Barbara’s House Childcare and Preschool
The New Year is upon us now! I am excited as I feel in my gut that 2013 is going to be the best year ever! Amidst all of the economic uncertainty of our times, we are fortunate being owners of our own direct sell businesses! We are in control of what we do and how much we make. There are no glass ceilings or bosses denying us a raise. We are in charge of our destiny. With that being said, here are some things I have learned from owning my own daycare/preschool and direct sales businesses over the last 12 years.
Being successful in this business is a choice. Successful business owners don’t make excuses, they make changes. There are going to be ups and downs in any business. If something isn’t going the way that you like, step back and reevaluate how you are doing things. Be honest with yourself. Are you putting in some extra time to get things done? Are you going beyond your comfort zone to let people know that you own a direct sales business? Have you been making those phone calls to get the parties dated? Are you attending meetings and getting on the conference calls to get the training that you need to be successful? Have you talked to your manager or director when you hit a slump and do you listen to her advice? I will not ask you to do anything that I haven’t done myself in this business. I live this day to day along with you. I get it. I have the same ups and downs. I have just learned that when you own your own business, the ups and downs even themselves out over the course of time as long as you consistently work your business.
When you own your own direct sales business, you have to help your customers, hostesses, and team members think. You are their personal direct sales buying, hosting, and business coach. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions or help them to see things differently. They need to be reminded about the specials, purchase with purchases, to contact their guests who haven’t responded to their invitations, the team meetings, etc. You lead and they will follow.
Contact- Contact- Contact: You must be in contact with your hostesses and customers or they will forget that you exist. Weekly points of contact with hostesses ensure a successful party. Monthly marketing contacts with customers ensure that they will contact you for their next purchase or remember your name when you call them.
Organize yourself. If this hasn’t been a strong skill for you in the past, take some cues from others who are organized. Don’t just assume that organization comes naturally to anyone. It really doesn’t. Organization is a learned skill. I taught organization skills to high school and middle school students for years. In order for you to successfully run your business and even your family, you must be organized. Here are some things that I do to make things run as smoothly as possible:
- Start with writing everything that you need to do in a planner or on a list. This helps us to prioritize what needs to be done sooner and what can be done later.
- Divide harder tasks into bite size pieces. Those tasks are not so overwhelming when you do this. You know the saying: How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time….
- Get up a 1/2 hour earlier every day. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in that time. (That was hard for me at first, but I have come to appreciate this time.)
- Plan the days that you want to work in 3 month intervals. Always put your family first. If you don’t do this, they and you will come to resent your direct sales business.
- Do things the same way. From dating a party to doing the party, if you have a routine, it is easier. It becomes a habit and you can eventually do most of it on autopilot. (Planning, paperwork, packing bags, folders, etc.) Each party will be a little different. Have a routine, but you must realize that you will have to adapt to what is happening at the party.
Spend some time each day in gratitude for what you have. It helps to put things in perspective. I start each day with my personal time of prayer and reading which helps me to focus on what and who is important. You must be centered in some way, or you will come upon difficult times and won’t be able to maneuver through them so easily.
Life will happen, and business is business. I don’t like having to deal with the struggles of life any more than anyone else. It’s just really hard sometimes. You should never let your business suffer when you have an emotional hurdle to face. What I have learned is that the routine of running a business gives me a sense of purpose and a vehicle for change in my life. When I was sick with Trigeminal Neuralgia, running my business got me out of bed each day when I really didn’t feel like it. I just keep plugging along. The moments of my life which seemed so overwhelming then are just a distant memory now. When crappy stuff happens, I allow myself a little time (just a little) to cry or pout. Then I “put on my big girl pants” and go on.
Find a mentor. I have had mentors all of my adult life. I have looked for people who are successful in some area of life where I would like success, and I have asked them to help me grow in that area. They have been people who mentored me in my faith, my marriage, my mothering, my businesses, and my hobbies. They take you by the hand, ask you the tough questions, show you the way, and hold you accountable for acting upon your goals. It is a rewarding experience to have someone who is helping you and cheering you on as you grow.
Ask for help when you need it. (See number 7 too.) Everyone needs help. It is a sign of strength to realize that you can’t do everything on your own. If you are working a full time job and this is a secondary income, ask your family to pitch in since you are helping them too. Children learn so much about weathering the storms of life when they have a parent who owns a business. Many children of entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs themselves one day. They also learn to set goals and see them through. Make your business a family business and you will all grow and accomplish together. My husband Mike and I work this business as a partnership now. It wasn’t that way for the first 6 months or so. I would get really angry at him. Finally, he asked me to just let him know what I needed from him and stop getting mad. I forgot that he couldn’t read my mind. DUH! I asked him to start helping me when I got home from parties, doing the menial tasks like putting on catalog labels, putting together prizes, loading names and email addresses into my marketing email site. etc. He was happy to be a part of things. We have grown so much closer as a couple/team because of this.
Be on time. Make it a point to be on time, all of the time, in everything. Time is a valuable resource. I once had a psychology professor who told our class that people who are always late are either very disrespectful of everyone else or they are narcissists. That was a real wake up call for me who thought that being late 5 minutes really didn’t matter. When I started arriving on time, people began to respect me more. I constantly have customers and hostesses who tell me that they appreciate my being on time. Would you do business with someone who thinks that you and your time don’t matter?
Owning my own businesses have been some of the most valuable and rewarding things that I have ever experienced. I take the time at the beginning of each year to evaluate how I can work my businesses better, and I make changes that will benefit my family and me for many years to come.