Today is my one year anniversary with Direct Sales. I thought I’d write about my year, some observations, and some lessons.
When I started Direct Sales last year, it was very much on a whim. I was working full time as a Senior Vice President at a technology company, in a well-paying job that was slowly crushing my spirit. I had an amazing corporate team, but the work was not fulfilling anymore, and the pressure for deadlines and performance was causing such anxiety and stress that I was on medication. But with a mortgage and bills, the paycheck was too good to just walk away. I started with a direct sales company when there were around 10,000 Consultants nationwide – definitely on the early side of joining. I had aspirations of quitting my full time job, but really didn’t know what would happen, or if there would even be any interest or success. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do home parties. I just knew I loved the product, and it was a ground floor opportunity. And for the low cost of joining, why not?! So jump in, I did. I did parties and vendor events like crazy those first few months. This was when there was a long waiting list, and chronic issues with product availability and quality. My small team plowed on. We jokingly said “if we can make it through Mother’s Day 2013, we can make it through anything.”
In April 2013, I put a concerted focus in building my online presence. I was still working full-time, in a job I hated. And at night, I was doing parties and events, and building my online strategy. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Blog. “Get online, Get found,” that was my goal. My secret goal, one I hadn’t told anyone except my husband, was to figure out how to leave my corporate job and work from home full-time. It was too scary to even consider. Leaving the security of a stable income, for the great unknown of ultimate freedom. But my goal with direct sales has never been to have the biggest paycheck. If money were my motivator, I never would have left my last company. My motivation, my greatest fulfillment, is coaching. Leadership. Building teams. Training. Collaboration. Celebration. Helping people realize potential that they didn’t even know they had.
I continued to focus on my online presence, and started teaching my team to do the same. In June, due to fortuitous timing, I was able to take a package from my company, and officially resigned. I was able to pursue direct sales full-time, with focus on social media strategy. I voraciously read everything I could get my hands on. Recruiting strategies, online sales strategies, virtual training strategies, online branding, everything about my direct sales social media compliance rules… And my team continued to grow. I refined techniques, built training materials and structure for my team that leveraged online channels such as video, and we continued to grow. We built a team identity and got team t-shirts. I earned the first ever incentive trip offered by my company (coming up in February 2014 to Cabo San Lucas), and was named Top Mentor for both November and December 2013 for our Senior Director’s team.
I continue to do parties, but now I do them online and leverage Facebook and other online tools for the convenience that hostesses demand. I spend most of my time coaching my team, building training structure, and working with new Designers.
So what have I learned? Many things…
- If you have a product that people want, they will find you. You just need to put it out there.
- Social media is amazingly powerful.
- You don’t have to stay in a job you hate.
- If you’re willing to work hard, you can build the job you want.
- You can make your dream happen.
- I have the best team on the planet. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. They’re amazing.
- I love what I do, and cannot imagine for one second, going back to working for someone else.
It’s been a pretty amazing year. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.
Want more awesome tips for building your business on social media? Come on over and join my free tips group, the Socialite Suite Mastermind!