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!

Pick My Brain

pick-my-brain1When I saw a blog entitled “No, Don’t Pick My Brain”, I had to laugh. Thank you Adrienne Graham.  See I have always said to people, pick my brain because I am not good at sharing all the stuff in my head. I love writing my blog. I love talking with people and sharing tidbits of information I have learned. I love to share information on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Some would think I share too much, right?

The author talked about the cost to maintain my brain. She says “My brain costs money to maintain. There’s training, classes to attend, reading (I have to buy books), gaining certifications, costs of memberships so I can network, attending conferences and mastering my skills all cost me money. I have to protect my investment. How fair is it to me to give away all the knowledge I have acquired which I use to make my living, pay my bills and eat?”

Please don’t misunderstand –  I’m am by no means going to stop sharing.  See I love to share information and I know at some point,  I will reap the benefits of helping others.  I have never learned how to put a value on my time and my knowledge.  When I was doing consulting work for non-profits, you know grant writing, program development, etc. I got paid for it – it was my business.  But part of me always “over-shared” or so some believed.  I share with everyone who wants to know how to do things – from writing a blog to fundraising and even some of those old skills like grant writing and program monitoring.

As I move back into being self-employed, someone said “you need to stop giving people information for free”, really?  Being in direct sales and having a small but growing team, I think sharing is invaluable.  I love this quote by Zig Ziglar:images-1

I have lived this way all of my life, so why change now, right?  Yes, I am self-employed. Yes, I need to pay my bills.  But I do believe if I continue to help others, God will provide for me and my family.

Despite the goals or business ideas some think I should follow, they aren’t in my heart.  I am thrilled for those individuals who move into coaching and are getting paid for their time and talents.  As for me, I will be the one who let’s everyone pick my brain – within limits.

So what do I get when someone asks for just an hour of one-on-one time? Or someone asks me to come to lunch so they can run some ideas by me?  Where do I draw the line?  The truth is, I am not sure at the almost ripe old age of 60, if I will ever know where to draw the line.  But based on some suggestions from the author, I may do some things a little different:

  • Believe what you know is valuable. If it wasn’t then why are they coming to you? You’re their chance to solve a problem or find a solution has value.  Believe in myself is a definite YES!
  • Create a fee schedule.  I will never say never BUT as for now, I don’t see this happening.
  • Decline lunch/coffee invitations unless they are strictly non-business. So, this isn’t going to happen for me.  I love to share what I have learned and even more excited I remember things given the MS memory issues.  
  • Keep it light. Give the why and what but never the how. This is definitely not for me.
  • Exchange for equal value.  This is one I can do…If someone asks for help, I need to feel comfortable asking for a referral or a party or a lead to an event.  Assess what they have which can be of equal benefit for you.  Okay so this means stepping out of my comfort zone and ASKING which is one of the steps in being Accountable this year.
  • Ask them for a paying referral.  This is not for me unless of course they know someone who would LOVE to have a party…
  • Don’t back down. It’s hard to say “no” and I am only going to do it when it compromises my core values.  I will not let people push me to do things. “The minute you compromise you devalue yourself and your expertise.”
  • Know your worth, understand your value. 

For those who are coaches (or want to be), these are amazing tips and a good book.  I actually wrote this blog in January 2014 with a much different tone.  I was ready to embrace all of these ideas but life has brought changes.  My focus had changed and I am embracing the “giving back” side of me… the side of me I love…..

Share your thoughts… Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Finding YOUR Customers

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Happy Monday… It was a crazy busy and exciting weekend but it is time to get back to work.  I am on a mission to fill my calendar for August AND find some new customers at the same time.  I saw an article on Bloglovin’ that had some tips that might help all of us find our “ideal” customer and hostess.

1. PACKAGE YOURSELF

What kind of service do you offer your customers? For most of us in direct sales, it is all about our products, right?  But what is the service that you offer linked to that product?  It’s essential that we package what we offer in a way that catches the attention of our ideal customers.  I mean there are 31 uses for a certain bag, one of them MUST fit your needs.

2. DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF

There are lots of “consultants” with your direct sales company BUT what makes you POP out.  What makes you stand out online (or in person) so that you attract the right people for you.  I have heard – just cast a wide net and the goods ones will be caught.  For me, that isn’t working so well.  Help your future customers to figure out whether you’re the right fit by being brave enough to stand out. Share rather than sell. Encourage instead of plead.  Provide amazing service without expecting things in return.

3. CREATE CONTENT FOR THEM

Your content is how you can share your expertise, build trust, brand awareness, and build a deeper connection with your audience.  The best part about content? It’s sharable, so when done right it can open you up to bigger audiences along the way – and therefore more potential customers.  Who are you appealing to (your target market) with your products?  Who can you connect with to share the value of your products using terms they are familiar with and that appeals to their lifestyle?  Keep showing up and being of service to your audience. Create content that connects with them, that they can file in the back of their mind, and that they would be willing to share with friends and family.

4. HANG OUT WHERE THEY ARE

Not only online but change your seat.  A different restaurant, a different bleacher seat, or a different Facebook group. We can’t expect potential customers to find us if we’re not actually hanging out where they are.  We need to be seen, not necessarily heard. That doesn’t mean just showing up for the sake of it but being available and aware of what’s going on around us.  Sharing appropriate content, engaging in conversations, collaborating and networking with others are just a few ways to show up.  Putting yourself out there can be scary, but having an empty calendar with no customers and no money in the bank is even scarier, right?

5. BUILDING TRUST

This is the BIGGEST thing for me when I am seeking new customers and hostesses.  Think about it – in many cases, we are asking people to let us into their homes while they give us access to their friends and family.  Seriously, would you do that if you didn’t have at least a basic trust of the person?  Being authentic every single step of the way is important. We need to commit to showing up and being transparent, to being open, and honest with everything that we do as it relates to our business.  When we are consistent in our message – online and in person – we develop a presence that builds authentic connections, relationships, and trust with future customers

So, what makes you good at your job?  What makes your services so valuable and worth your customers investment? Wouldn’t it be great if you could attract ideal customers so that the work that you do every day not only feeds your soul but your bank balance.

Share your thought with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Lessons

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This past weekend I connected with members of the Class of 1975 from OTHS at our 40th Reunion.  As we looked at graduation pictures, reminisced about days gone by, I realized something…… I was different.  In the past, I would have clung to the old thoughts of who was in what “clique” in HS and what someone would think of me, my business and my life.  This time is was different, I drove to the reunion with a confidence that I have not had in this type of situation before.  Why?  Because I am the CEO of my own business.  Okay, so maybe it isn’t that simple but I truly believe that it has helped in me growing as a person and as a result having success in my business.

I have a new respect for me and my business.  In the past, I was shy about telling people about my direct sales business.  I mean most people look at the “home party business” as a hobby and truthfully despite saying the words – I think deep down, I did too.  Are you ready to get gut honest about YOUR business and what you think of it?  On the surface, you work your business like a business but deep down, do you think “this won’t last” or “it is fun for now”?  Do you believe it is a career or just something to pass the time until something else comes along?

I have gained CONFIDENCE and I feel good about who I am.  My life’s journey may not look like others but it is mine and I am proud of all that I have accomplished.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  When I shared about my business this weekend I talked about “honoring others positive energy with a variety of products for you, your family, your home and your business”.  Those that were interested asked questions, if they weren’t they just smiled and said “that’s nice”.  It was okay because I LOVE my products and I know that they have value.  Thank you Eryka Peskin for teaching me how to celebrate the inner gremlins so that I can squash them.

I learned how to celebrate successes.  Large or small, it doesn’t matter they are YOUR successes.  Not what others see as success and not other’s goals.  I LOVE celebrating my customers, my hostesses, and my team for orders, birthdays and milestones of all kinds. So why didn’t I celebrate my own successes.  I usually let them pass by without considering their significance or achievement.  What about you, do you celebrate your successes and if so, how?  I CELEBRATE at least 3 things every day NOW and as a result my perspective changed.  I share the positives with the Universe and in return, I receive more positive things. Did you know that if you don’t celebrate your successes, you have a higher chance of burning out or being left with the question of “why am I doing all of this?”  Who wants that, right?

Last but not least — and perhaps the most important lesson of all — I learned to be utterly genuine. Yes, I still have a prideful streak.  Yes, I still play the comparison game on occasion. I have learned that when I genuinely share my strengths, hope and experiences that doors open up.  People begin to put value in what you say and do – even if it is a “purse thing”.  So, I always try to be kind and genuine, and offer value to to my customers.

What have you learned from running your own business?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!