Oh…Isn’t That A Pyramid Scheme?
Direct sales has a bad reputation and while most of that has to do with how we as small business owners choose to conduct our business, a large portion of that negative reputation is based off how we treat each other within in the industry. How on Earth are we ever going to be taken seriously if we can’t take the time to treat others in the industry with respect, kindness and willing extend a helping hand? The short answer is it will never happen because we’re currently a mean girl club. Woah…that can’t possibly be true because we’re a sisterhood. We’re here to help and lift each up. So, let’s dig into why we have this mean girl reputation and figure out how WE as direct sellers can change the future of direct sales with our actions today.
Joining a direct sales company starts pretty much the same for most anyone. You learn about a product and simply can’t get enough of it. Your enthusiasm for the brand is infectious and you can’t help but share it with everyone around you. So, naturally you are ready to own this business. In most cases, you get a kit for a killer price on a boatload of products you’re in love with and have the potential to make a small (or large) income based off how much you want to work the business. What’s to lose, right?
I’m Going to *Insert Huge Goal Here*!!
Okay, so you’ve stumbled into this heaven of an opportunity where you are choosing to represent a brand that you are in love with. Now what? Typically, you’re met with a team welcoming you in with open arms and excited for you to join in on this adventure. Everyone is happy, you feel supported, and you are ready to own this business, and then your fast start (or whatever it’s called) ends…then what?
You’ve likely started to reach a lack of interest from your inner circle and sales are dropping. You don’t quite know what to do. Instead of the guidance you thought you’d receive, you start hearing things like “just book some parties,” “message everyone that’s online right now” or “do a loop.” This isn’t an easy industry and you have to cultivate some relationships and long-term practices in order to be successful, and those approaches will only get you so far.
So what’s next? Well, this is the time in which you’ll realize your success hinges solely on you and you start to seek out external resources in order to continue growth. Or maybe you’ll decide that while the initial start was a fun ride, it’s not for you. Either one is fine, but the choice is yours, and your success falls only on you. Choosing to walk away isn’t failure. It will never be failure, it’s a choice.
(Graphic credit to Michele M. Bradley)
Time to Level Up
Assuming you’ve decided to continue pushing forward and seeking those outside resources in order to help with your success, you’re now going against the grain. Chances are you’re choosing to do things differently than your upline or others on your team. This is exactly what running a business looks like. You can’t sit stagnant or you’ll never grow and those sales you want will continue to decline. However, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with seeking out information and do things differently, you’re now going against the grain, and likely feeling some pushback from your team. Obviously doing things differently means you’re better than them, that you’re smarter than them, etc. No, doing things differently has nothing to do with that, only with you choosing to make your business work for you, in your own way. But doing things differently is intimidating to others and the insecurities from those around you.
Those voices can get loud and they’ll cause you to doubt yourself, but stay the course of being true to yourself, and I promise you’ll be happier in the longrun. They’ve only learned one narrow path to success and can’t imagine anyone deviating from that. People fear change. People let their insecurities for themselves show through when expressing the doubts they have for you. Listen closely, that’s them doubting themselves, not you.
Maybe This Isn’t The Gig For Me
On the flip side, let’s say you decide to leave for another direct sales company. Let’s also assume it has nothing to do with any negative feelings you have for your original business. You choosing to leave has everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else, but people will make it about themselves. Somehow you leaving impacts their business. I call bullshit on this. If you opened a business, you opened it with the intentions YOU were going to run it for yourself, knowing full and well YOU would have to do the work.
But again, change is scary, and you choosing to leave will cause other businesses to fail because their insecure with what they’ve built. Maybe they’ve been riding on your coattails and don’t know how to do it on their own? Maybe in your path to wanting to help others, it’s actually something you encouraged unknowingly. Well let me tell you, those ugly sides of people start showing up like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, jealousy and insecurity are some really ugly sides you’ll see, and that’s where the mean girl status enters. Direct sales can bring out the best in us. It can also bring out the worst in us.
Take The High Road
The reputation of this industry will never change if we can’t celebrate the success of others, help those behind on the line, or recognize that life and goals change. The inability to do any of the above listed things has cultivated this mean girl reputation. Who on earth wants to do business with someone in a mean girl club? Umm, I don’t.
So be different. Celebrate those who are hitting their goals even if you’re still working on yours. Lend a helping hand, even if it is your competition – there’s room for all of us. Continuously seek out new relationships and learning opportunities, and for heaven’s sake – stop talking shit about others. This is an amazing industry and has the ability to empower small business owners to lead the life they want to lead, but this mean girl nonsense is ruining our reputation.
You reap what you sow, and I encourage you to start sowing some generosity, kindness, motivation, celebration, and genuine compassion for others, because that’s what’s going to make your business. Not worrying about someone doing better than you. Not that somebody is doing something different. And certainly not because your sponsor leaves. Run YOUR business and always do it with grace and dignity, and those that don’t belong beside you will naturally weed themselves out. Take the high road and help change the face of this industry. We aren’t mean girls and this mean girl club status has go to go. We are a group of women (and men!) helping to live the life we want.
Are You a Mean Girl or Business Woman?
I’m going to challenge you to reach out to someone that’s recently announced leaving the business, and check in on them. Or you know that person that intimidates the heck out of you because they’re where you want to be – reach out to her and pick her brain! Or how about that person in your friend list that you see posting all day long about their new business that they’re so excited about – send her a message and encourage her, instead of talking about her behind her back. If you’re talking crap, chances are you’re ahead of her on the line, so help guide her! There are resources out there, share them. One you can share is the Socialite Suite, which is a free resource, and you can find a wealth of information over on their blog.
Should you choose to accept my challenge, I’m also going to ask you to come back here and let me know what you did. Share it. Make a stand towards being part of the change. The best way to make a difference is to lead by example. You can’t spend your time wishing for things to change. If you want change to happen, you’re going to need to walk the talk.