Feeling Overwhelmed?

So this is where I am today!  Feeling overwhelmed and not sure what direction to go in.

I woke up remembering today was Gram’s birthday.  My grandmother would have celebrated her 106 birthday today…. I know she is celebrating in heaven with all of my other angels; BUT this got me to thinking – scary, right?  My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and on any given day, her memory was shot.  With my MS, on any given day my memory is shot.  I think of what a struggle it is for me and I can’t imagine the pain and frustration she felt for so many years….. Yes, I squirreled but this is all part of me being overwhelmed.

This is the month things get crazy – I have craft shows every weekend from now (okay last weekend) till the second weekend in December.  Some week-ends it is both Saturday and Sunday, some it is just Saturday and then there are a few mid-week events I squeezed in.  WHY?  Yes, tis the season of selling angels and helping people make memories BUT I can’t seem to admit things get to be a struggle.  MS has caused me to walk a little slower, my brain is a little foggier and some days I just can’t seem to move because I am so tired.

In the past, my blogs and my focus have been on my business BUT things are changing yet again.  I’m not sure what direction I want to go in and some days, I’m not even sure if I want to keep blogging.  SHOCKING, right?  I have been blogging since 2013 first on a daily basis and then I cut it back to 4 days a week.  Now, even that seems overwhelming.  I wonder if anyone is still interested.  I know my recipes get a lot of sharing so that is definitely at hit.  The problem is, I struggle with finding new and different recipes to appeal to everyone… even ones I would like. So, today I am thinking of trying some of the things I used to do when I was feeling overwhelmed in my business…..

In the midst of all of this craziness, how do you manage to NOT feel overwhelmed in your business or in your life?  How do you manage to not loose your focus at the busiest time of year?  I found an article in The Self Employed which may have some tips to help you….

1.  Reset:  Before you panic (unless you already have) press the RESET button.  Make a list of things which need to be done and rank them by priority.  At the end of each day, give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to relax, reflect on what you did and get ready for a new day.  You can’t change what happened yesterday but you can take control of today.

2.  Eliminate Outside Influence:  Do you have your own business?  Juggling kids and a job?  Juggling a chronic health issue?  Set aside time for it – maybe just a 1/2 hour, or an hour or even several hours.  Finish the most important tasks WITHOUT interruption.  Then focus on your family and enjoy.   Did you know it takes you 20 minutes to get back on track after a distraction.  YIKES!  Definitely time to weed out the distractions!!!

3.  Focus Down One Task – EAT the FROG  – you know the most daunting thing or the thing you hate to do the most.  The quicker you get this done, the easier the rest of the list will be to get done.  Get your productivity snowball rolling down the hill.  That works not only in your business but also in preparation for the holidays. Yup, it is going to be here before you know it!

4.  Ask for Help – alright, I know no one can do it the way you do it BUT they can help.  It doesn’t have to PERFECT but if someone is willing to pitch in, let them.  From helping get ready for the holiday meal to doing the small things in your office.  This is the hardest thing for me to do!

5.  Learn to Say NO!  Novel concept, right but it will not be the end of the world.  Remember you can’t do EVERYTHING.  As John Maxwell says – manage YOU because you can’t manage time, we all get the same 24 hours in a day.

Block time for work THEN enjoy the holiday.  Block off time for family and friends so you can enjoy without the guilt feelings.  What is your best tip for getting through this holiday season or just the every stress of juggling lots of balls without loosing your mind???

Have a blessed day!

 

 

The Kindness of Intentional Blindness

Thank you  Michele Cushatt for today’s message.


We were hoping for a long, slow dinner out with good friends. Instead, what we got was a mediocre meal and a rude waitress.

From the moment we walked in the door of the tiny cafe, we felt her chill. She didn’t want us standing by the door, nor did she like it when we sat in a couple vacated chairs while we waited for a table. When our table was finally ready, she seemed annoyed by the number of our children. Then, when we asked for an additional glass of water, she let us know she’d already brought enough for everyone. We must’ve misplaced it. Finally, when we discovered we’d been given a regular pizza when we’d asked for gluten-free, she made sure we knew we must’ve ordered it wrong and it was definitely not her fault.

Now, I’d love to tell you my first instinct was one of compassion and grace. Instead, I looked at this snarky young woman—young enough to be one of my own children—and I considered how a good solid smack down might do her a bit of good. She was rude, disrespectful, unkind, and not at all the example I want my youngest three children to see. Customer service was absent, not to mention basic manners and human kindness. Her behavior was unacceptable, and every part of me wanted to tell her so.

Until later that evening, when we processed what had happened and an insight by my friend doused my fire:

“Did you hear what she said when she walked away? ‘I can’t do anything right.’ She must’ve been having a hard day.”

Just that fast, my annoyance turned to empathy. I knew what it felt like to have one of those days, when everything goes wrong and I feel like nothing but a failure. Sometimes it’s easier to erect a hard shell than crumble in a million pieces. Cold indifference feels safer than sadness.
I can’t help but wonder: What would’ve happened if I’d chosen lean in and extend kindness? What would’ve happened if I’d tempered my annoyance with both curiosity and grace? While her behavior was unacceptable, there’s a chance it might also be understandable. Perhaps she’d experienced a difficulty that day I knew nothing about, or even a loss my own heart couldn’t fathom.

Annoyance does nothing to lend comfort.

But kindness speaks calm to a storm.

“Fools show their annoyance at once,” Solomon said. By all accounts, I act like a fool more than not. I’m easily annoyed, especially with those closest to me, the ones living inside the walls of my house. Some days it doesn’t take much for my adolescent children to trigger a reaction. And, in many cases, their behavior deserves parental correction. But what if I responded to insults with kindness? What if my correction of them also included authentic connection? How might my calm demeanor melt the coolness of those around me?

After all, that is precisely what God does for us. When having a hard day, He doesn’t match my rudeness and obstinate  with His. Instead, He offers relationship, allowing His kindness to bring about the correction I so desperately need.

Have a blessed day!

 

Direct Sales and FUNdraising

I don’t know about you but as soon as it hit September 15th, I feel like my mailbox (snail mail and email) has been hit with LOTS of requests for donations.  Some from organizations near and dear to my heart while others are those spammy kind which try to pull on your heart strings.  As someone who does fundraising through my direct sales business, I tend to look at the pleas in a different way.

Fundraising can be done with monetary donations or by making a difference in the lives of others with gifts which will bring a smile to their face as they battle their struggle.

I know, you are wondering how to make fundraising work for your direct sales business right?  I actually issued this as a challenge to my team.  Find out what causes are near and dear to the hearts of your customers, pick one which is also dear to you and go for it!  What better way to get to know people then by finding out what causes they love.

So, why is fundraising a good move for your business?  Let’s start with your desire to build a team and move up in leadership.  In most DS companies, you earn income not only from your business but also from those who are on your team – bigger team = greater income.

If you want to grow your team, statistics show the more people you’re in front of, the more you will recruit. It’s a number’s game.

TIP #1:  Some of your best recruits can come as a result of being the hostess of fundraisers. Don’t forget to ask them to join your team and do their OWN fundraisers in the future! If they are raising money for a group, chances are-they know TONS of people!

TIP #2:  Make sure you funnel everyone into your customer group so they will continue to see your recruiting (and booking) posts.

TIP #3: Make sure you invite people from the Facebook Event to your team’s monthly opportunity night!  Find the one who comments a lot, who already has a lot of your product or the one every seems to ask for their opinion.

TIP #4: This is the most important as far as I am concerned! Send a “thank you” email to everyone who ordered from the party with links and graphics for booking and recruiting.

How can fundraisers help you with your bookings?  Again, the more people you’re in front of, the more bookings you’re going to get. Funnel everyone from your fundraiser into your customer group and you’ve created a breeding ground for future bookings!

TIP #1: Create a way for everyone who attends the fundraiser to help even more Tell by offering a booking incentive.  Something like, anyone who books a party (limit the dates) will also have 10% of THEIR party donated to this fundraiser/cause.   This is a great way to get your hostess booking parties for you! I also offer something to my hostess so she is pushing the bookings too.

TIP #2:  I do my events so they are linked to my public business page so everyone can SHARE the event! Maybe even do a giveaway for anyone who shares a certain post onto their personal timeline.  Create excitement.  Make it fun.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have an extra $500 to $1000 a month in baseline sales BEFORE you even enter in any your regular parties?

What are some of you best fundraising tips?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Page versus Customer Group?

The last week of summer here at the Jersey Shore… well, at least the last full week for the roads to be full of “shoobies”.  Today we are going to battle the great debate – should I have a business page, a customer group or both in my direct sales business?

I will admit there are days I battle this too.  I wonder who really reads either of them especially when I hear crickets.  The truth is both can help you develop a community of customers or potential customers to help you grow your business.

My personal Facebook page has been a little light lately.  Not much posting going on since I am trying to stick with family things, personal thoughts and a slight mixing of business stuff especially when I am using products.  I was posting my blog on my personal page but I have decided to switch it up.  It will post  to my business page and then I will share it to my personal page.  Mainly because WordPress won’t let me share it at the same time on two different Facebook accounts.

I developed a “CLOSED” Facebook group for my customers and hostesses but you have to friend me in order to join. That can be a problem for some so they have shied away from it. NOW, I have a business page where they can simply “like” the page to get information on Thirty One. It is so much better. I can actually separate business from personal. A novel concept, huh? In trying to find ways to attract people to my NEW business page, I found this article in Direct Sales Education Foundation with a few tips:

Let’s talk about closed groups or as I like to call it “My VIP group”.  This is where I build relationships with customers and potential customers.  It isn’t all about the sale, it is about having fun, sharing some product ideas and getting to know people.  Plan content to interest your fans. Here is an interesting fact – up to10% of your fans will actually see any one post. WHAT? I know it is crazy right?  I have over 400 in my VIP group so when I hear crickets, it is time for a change.  Games and interactive posts are a great way to get things moving.  At least once a week, I try to play a game with my members.  I ask questions to get them talking.

Now, on your business page….First, think about why your fans liked your page and then give them what they want. Plan ahead. Take into accounts holidays, company specials, catalog changes, etc.  Invite your online friends and contacts to like your Page. Go back an “uninvite” friends who haven’t accepted the invitation and then either re-invite them or move on to some others.  Be sure to link your business page to your closed Facebook group.

Your business page is where you showcase your business.  This is where I share the monthly customer special – about 2 days before the it starts.  I post inspirational quotes int the morning.  Then product information in the afternoon.  Offer opportunities to help community service organizations. Encourage others to not only like your page but to share it with their friends and family.  Make sure you check the policies and procedures of your direct sales company. Thirty One does not allow us to offer special deals on our public page ONLY in our closed groups.

Be sure to Interact as your page on other relevant Facebook Pages. Every time you place a comment on Facebook, make sure it is through your business page instead of your personal account. If you are commenting on another business or network group, ask questions, thank people for great information, etc as your business. In this way you become a useful member of the community.  They also get to see your business page when they scroll over your name on the post.

Are you convinced you?  I am sure your friends and family will be glad to see something besides business items on your personal page. Remember with a little thought and attention, your Facebook Page can become a place where your biggest fans gather.

What are your tips for successfully growing your Likes? Would love to read your thoughts…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Friday Fun Day

WOOHOO!  Who doesn’t love Fridays?  Okay, so some of you may work on the weekends – been there, done that so if you do, think of “Fun Friday” as the day before your two days off.  Isn’t it a relief to know you have the next two days to take a break from work? You can let down your guard, dress casually and as a result you have more spring in your step and accomplish just a bit more.

Have you ever wondered why Fridays are on the pedestal while we struggle with Mondays or even Tuesdays? What if we had an entire week of Fridays? No, I am not advocating quitting your job, although working from home and making my own hours had a BIG impact on my attitude.

Today is all about finding the “fun” in your business again.  Building relationships with our customers.

By definition, a customer is “a person who purchases goods or services from another”. Basic right? We all know it – we have been customers, we know customers and we need them in our business.

Now, take a moment to think about how you shop… Do you shop for the best sales? Do you buy the same product, time and again – why? Do you travel to certain stores because of the awesome service they provide? Are you faithful to one store? Are you faithful to one direct sales consultant per company or do you hop from consultant to consultant?

In direct sales, we sometimes joke and ask customers if they are “married” to their consultant. Why? Their answer will tell us how faithful they are to their consultant.  I am  not one to step on others toes, so I want to be sure they return to their regular consultant  or if they don’t have one, I then know they are fair game to “court” for business.

Rhonda Abrams wrote an article about “Getting and keeping customers is like any relationship. It takes courtship, commitment, and ongoing communication to keep the spark alive.” I liked how she talked about the stages of building a relationship with your customers.

STAGE 1: 

  • Show up. Be visible with your product. Use it, wear it, display it!
  • Look good. Do you have a website? If your company offers one, even at a minimal charge – GET IT!
  • Be social. Facebook? Pinterest? Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn? There are so many to choose from – pick the one which works best for YOU!
  • Be interesting. Share your expertise. It isn’t all about the product. You have experience and ideas, tidbits of information to share – let people get to know YOU.
  • Keep at it. Market, market, market. Customers don’t just show up; you have to continually court them.

STAGE 2: 

  • Get personal. Customers need to sense a personal connection with you. Help them get to know you — and try to get to know them.
  • Mind your manners. Be polite. Smile. Learn customers’ names. Say thank you – a lot. Remember, your customers want to feel they are being treated like people, not dollar signs.
  • Know what you’re talking about. Understand your products and policies and be able to answer customers’ questions quickly and thoroughly.

STAGE 3: 

  • Be honest. Tell them if you don’t have something to meet their needs. If you don’t know – tell them then find out and get back to the quickly.
  • Price fairly. In direct sales, our products already come priced so even if you aren’t the cheapest option, you have to be a realistic choice.
  • Provide something customers will be glad they bought. Always deliver quality, and you’ll increase customer satisfaction and garner rave reviews. I LOVE when someone has a Thirty One product and can sing its praises.
  • Let them in. My business is an open book for my customers – who knows they could be my next recruit.

STAGE 4: 

  • Add a special touch. When I deliver packages to a hostess, the orders are bagged and tagged with a thank you note. I do lots of snail mail cards, etc just to let my customers know I care.
  • Go the extra mile. Exceed expectations; give a little extra. I offer referral gifts when  someone joins my team and is referred by a customer.  The thank you is for getting them to my door, and the rest is up to me.
  • Use a good customer relationship management system. My system is a notebook and tickler file – basic paper.  It allows me to stay in touch on a more personal basis with my customers.
  • Show them a good time. Host holiday events and open houses. This is one of my customers favorite things. My condo has become too cramped now so it is time to find and move to a larger space.
  • Be loyal. Give customers good customer service and they will continue to keep coming back.

So, are all four stages a part of YOUR business? Are customers jumping ship to go to a different consultant? Do they “just shop at parties”? Keep your customers coming back to you and continue to grow your business. I would love to hear your thoughts….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!