What is YOUR Brand?

A few weeks ago I walked into a vendor event to hear “are you the angel lady that sells Thirty One?”.  It took me a minute but then I said “yes”.  I was totally surprised by the question but grateful the two things were linked together.

Obviously you know I am a Thirty One consultant BUT I also love to make and share my angels.

I have found the perfect way to combine my two loves to make a difference in the lives of others.  My traveling angel pins allow individuals to buy an angel and send one to a person who needs some encouragement.  Know someone who is struggling?  Let me know and I will send them a pin.

Where is all of this leading?  I have (accidentally) branded myself as “the Thirty One angel lady”.  Is it a bad thing? No! But I am grateful to have created my own niche of making a difference.

1. Realize branding does apply to you.

No matter what you do, branding can take your career or business to the next level.  Your brand reflects your reputation — what you’re known for (or would like to be known for). What was once called a reputation is now called a brand.  Don’t we all want to be know for something?

2. State who and what you are (not what you’re not).

Remember positive brings positive into your Universe.  Your branding should be consistent from beginning to the end.  Showcase your accomplishments and expertise but don’t overinflate to the point you can’t follow through.  Authenticity is the key.  I am all about giving back.  Hubby says my tagline should be “I will never be Rockefeller (rich with money)” because I am all about giving to others.

3. Honestly, ask yourself what is your value.

When was the last time you wrote down your core strengths. Prepare a list. Ask yourself what your top 5 accomplishments have been in the past 5, 10, 15 years. Which ones stand out as the most value to your business or your company?

Branding is all about impressing others not ourselves, right?  So, why not ask others what they see as your most positive attributes (family, friends, or colleagues). I know this can be scary BUT you may be surprised to find out how others perceive you. You may actually be surprised to see what things come to the forefront as your areas of expertise.

4. Understand developing a brand takes time.

This is HUGE!  I have been with Thirty One for 6 years.  I have done many things to try and “brand myself” but with the help of Desiree Wolfe, I found my niche.  

What does it mean? Every day, I share things which bring my brand (Thirty One and angels) into the spotlight.  I want to make a difference and I try to do it every day in some small way with everyone I meet.  Remember developing a brand is about adding value which results in you being seen and heard. It’s about distinguishing you from your competitors.

5. Create a blog and write what you know.

I hear the groans of those who say “I can’t write”.  How often are you asked the same question by almost all of your customers?  Maybe it is about a situation or a product or a service.  Guess what?  You answer the question a million times, why not write about it and share the answer.  It’s simple – choose a hot question in your field and just start writing by answering it in an article or blog post.  You have now proven you know what you’re talking about.

6. Interact more than less.

I’m still getting the hang of this.  I don’t want to be spammy or pushy or salesy. I do want to gain attention to me (as the brand) then my products and services which leads to more sales.  I may blog daily but I don’t consistently post comments on Facebook groups or on other blog posts.  You need to decide what works with your schedule and time ability.

Your online identity is a priority in today’s busy digital world. I heard “your online branding as a #digitaltattoo which is so true.  Once it is out there – it stays out there. Wonder where you stand right now?  Google yourself, your brand, or your product/service.  See what comes up.  The biggest compliment I have received is when someone I know as an acquanitence tells me they Googled a subject and I came up.

My angels help me stand out with my Thirty One customers.  The angels help them to remember me!  What is your brand?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Home Business or Hobby?

It is Monday morning and the last week to get Thirty One’s Summer Essential Enrollment Kit to start your own business for just $50.  Are you wondering whether you want to be a true home business owner or just a hobbyist?

The truth is not everyone has the same goals. Some people treat their business as a business and others dabble basically running a fun hobby.  You can do either one which is why direct sales is perfect for everyone.  If you want to truly run a home business which leads to financial success, you need to know the difference between the two!

There are five questions which can help you determine which category you are in – true home business or hobbyist.

1. Do you have a plan of action?

Although having a successful home business can be flexible, you need to have a plan. The plan needs to include what needs to be done and when.  It can also include plans for marketing, knowing your competition, and follow-up.  Customer specials, hostess benefits and company incentives are usually set up by the company so you will just need to include these in your plan when they are announced.  Have a plan on what you are going to do to grow your business?  Contacts?  Parties? Fundraisers?

2. Do you have a schedule?

Remember I said, your business can be flexible?  It is BUT you need to work at your business on a consistent schedule.   Set aside time in your day – EVERY DAY- to work your business in a profit producing way.  Have you scheduled and SHARED your “office hours” with your loved ones and your customers?  Remember working your business doesn’t include reading emails, checking Facebook, blogging, etc – these are all time-consuming activities to help maintain your business.  Working your business ONLY includes actual person-to-person interactions, such as making sales calls, booking parties, setting up recruiting appointments, Hostess Coaching, pink bag calls, etc.

3. Do you have a budgets for your business and are you investing in your business properly?

I struggle with a budget in my business but I am learning to reinvest in my business and myself.  Remember – you must spend money to make money.  I know it is difficult when you want the extra money to pay off debt or for emergencies in the house but your business will not grow when you put zero dollars into building it.  No one “got rich” without some investment.  You invested in the initial Enrollment Kit but it doesn’t end there.  I always tell my team, you are in this to make money – not spend it.  You need decide what to spend, how much and where you are going to spend it so you can grow your business. It doesn’t mean you need every product in the catalog. Things like: business cards, thank you cards, giveaways, etc.  According to the Diva Success System, you should never invest or spend more than $50 per month into your business.

4. Do You know if you ARE making any money? 

The enormous difference between a hobby and a business: Hobbies COST money, Businesses MAKE money. So, do you  KNOW if you are making any money?  I don’t mean, do you have money in you bank account because it only shows what you took in and spent during a given month.  You can use a calculator or a spreadsheet to figure it out.  Let’s look at your last party and see if you made a profit. Look at your expenses  for the party – including gas/mileage, any giveaways or freebies you offered to guests or your hostess.   Once you see your “profit”, look at what you did with the money.  Be honest.

5. Are you investing in your education?

Continuing education is important for business owners as well as in Corporate America. Learn something new- every day. Invest in your education through seminars, courses, and magazines or books. You are investing in yourself, your business success and your future when you take the time to continuously learn. This is a great investment in your greatest business asset … YOU.

I have been working my business for six years, and I will admit, I have fluctuated between hobby and business at times.  My ultimate goal is for a business 24/7 so I have been making changes this year to achieve my goals. You don’t need to do it all at once, take baby steps… Trust me, I get it.  Having tried my own home based business before, it is tempting to play and enjoy your new-found freedom but in order to succeed, you need a solid foundation.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How It All Began

I has been 4 years… four years of blogging daily sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice.  Then I think back to what started it all and the response I got from the first post.

This is my first blog post from March, 2013.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for encouraging me to not only share my story but to start writing again.  I know in my heart, I make a difference to at least one person each day with what I write.

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more? I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable. My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports. Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came. Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that.

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community. She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally.

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Looking Forward to 2017

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My word for 2016 was CONFIDENCE. 

CONFIDENCE to believe when the way is rough.  CONFIDENCE to hang on when the going is tough. CONFIDENCE will guide me when my business is slow.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I move forward with the Rays of Hope – Angel Connection.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I overcome doubt with my new contract working with a grassroots non-profit.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I learn to live with my recent diagnosis of MS.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I see and believe in the person that others see in me.  CONFIDENCE will guide me as I squash the inner gremlins that have haunted me all of my life.

As a wrap of to this year, I’ve been reflecting A LOT as well as praying on what my word will be in 2017.  I love the beginning of a new year, with all of the hopes and possibilities of what’s ahead, but I know it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed with having 12 brand new months to tackle too. By sharing some of the things I’m looking forward to next year, my hope is it will encourage you to think about what you’re excited about in 2017 so you can enter the new year feeling ready and raring to go!

1. 5 Year Anniversary!

I can hardly believe hubby and I will be married five years and we have been together for 16 years.  My goal is to earn the Leadership Incentive Trip with Thirty One so I can take him on a cruise for our special anniversary.

2. Adventures, big and small!

We’ve been lucky enough to do a little traveling – North Carolina to visit the girls and I headed to Ohio for National Conference.  We had adventures like traveling the State to see doctors about my MS & the many symptoms.  I want to embrace the mini adventures next year too – day trips out to explore new places, and weekend breaks.

3. Full-time in my business

I have been in direct sales for almost 6 years and I am really excited to see what this next year has to bring. I am committing to my business full-time so it will be my main source of income to help with the household bills.  No more part-time job.  I am so grateful to be able to work from home with so many amazing women.  Along with my direct sales business, one of my biggest priorities in my business next year is to continue to create different ways to show up and be of service to the community.  I feel so grateful every single day this is my job, and I want to just give it 100% and show up fully for my business in 2017 along the way.

4. Continuing to embrace less stress, more joy in work and life

This has been one of the biggest takeaways for me in 2016 – a mindset of less stress, more joy is what serves me best in my work and my life. Keeps MS symptoms at a minimum and makes for a happy Hope.  I am learning how to embrace the seasons in my life.  I’m feeling focused, productive, and inspired as I end 2016.  In 2017, I want to give myself permission to live my creative life on my own terms, and embrace my own natural ebb and flow of rest and hustle too.

5. All the growth, discovery, and lessons ahead to come

I don’t know about you, but I learn, grow and change so much during a year.  In 2016, I’ve discovered so much more about myself, who I am, and what is most important to me.  I feel so much more aware and connected to what matters most in my life. I’m so excited to experience all the lessons 2017 has to bring.

I want to thank you so much for following my blog this year.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you every day.  My vision in everything I do with my business and online presence is to support, encourage and inspire you to be the best YOU, you can be.  I hope to continue to do it in 2017 too.

I believe this is each and every one of you…d41d60aa5f46b43b9c0545e7f97b07c5

What will your word be for 2017?  Share it with us and let’s work together to make this year a success….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Customer Service Tips

Saturday for many mean a day off.  If you can call shuttling kids to activities, errands, sporting events or cleaning a day off.  For those in direct sales during the busiest time of the year, it means working your business – parties and/or vendor events or maybe both.

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So, how do you capitalize on this time of year?  The best way is to provide your customers with the BEST customer service they have ever received from any business or business owner.  You want your customers to remember you.  Here are some tips from Party Plan Divas to help you become remarkable:

1. Stay in contact with your customers on a regular basis. Don’t just rely on your company’s newsletter or Social Media outlet.  Pick up the phone and make Customer Care Calls for special events (holiday, new catalog, etc) The more often you are in front of your customers – the more often they think of you.

2. Give Customers more than they expect.  There is no such thing as “too much” customer service. Send “Thank you” notes for no reason other than to say thanks. Offer discounts at random times throughout the year. Send free gifts with large purchases with no notice. The more people feel appreciated, the more likely they are to not only do business with you but send referrals your way as well.

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3. Resolve complaints and conflicts quickly. We want everyone to be happy with our products but the truth is sometimes problems arise – shipping delays, back orders, products malfunctioning, etc. Show your customers you really care by taking care of their problems quickly. Good Customer Service does not have a price tag. Never avoid a phone call or email. Personally take care of the problem as best as you possibly can.

4. Make it easy for your customers to find you.  Offer as many contact methods as possible, so when a customer reaches out, she feels like she will be able to get to you. Email, cell phone, social media, etc are all great contact methods. Make your contact methods easy to remember by using a universal business name as often as possible. (i.e. www.partywithHope.com, HopeWs31@gmail.com, facebook.com/Hope Heldreth-Wissel, Hope Wissel, HopeWissel.com)

5. Strong relationships is the basis of a strong business.  The more your customers like you, the more they will do business with you and encourage their friends to do the same. Interact daily on social media. Send birthday and anniversary cards. Create special Customer Appreciation events.  Your customers will feel important when they are included in these kinds of special events.

6. Always be polite.  You must always be very aware the things you say – both out loud and on social media – can never be taken back.  THINK before saying or posting anything. Take a minute and ask yourself “if this was the very first thing a potential customer saw, would she want to do business with me?” Make sure everything you put out into the universe is becoming of a direct sales professional. Use the words “you’re welcome”, “thank you”, “please” etc often. Be calm and polite even when they are upset.

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What is your best tip for building strong business relationships with your customers?  Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!