Recently, I read an article, listened to a CBC interview and watched a video that all-out slagged multi level marketing and direct sales. I was outraged. I reached out to a mentor, and she pointed me to articles and videos that opined the complete opposite, and reminded me that free speech is a wonderful privilege.
So here’s my perspective on Direct Sales in 2019.
First, let me say my experience has been surprisingly rewarding, and brutally honest and 20 years in the making so far.
Brutally honest in that my successes in my business were directly tied to my whole personal self and self-awareness and development. In other words, being in Direct Sales, and staying in it for 20 years, has taught me loads about business and sales, and relationships and leadership. And it’s made me personally a better human, friend, mother, wife, daughter, leader and mentor. My business development spilled over into my personal life.
Want an example? I learned my leadership skills could not grow while I was brutally hard on myself; that the lens through which I viewed my actions and accomplishments was the only lens I possessed. That meant my personal criticism and self-castigation was subtly and unhelpfully felt by my team; those I so yearned would grow and learn, and become leaders in their own right. Aaargh. Enter the continuing lesson and practice of being gentle with myself.
Let’s talk rewarding. How has Direct Sales been rewarding to me? I count my rewards as blessings above and beyond the income I earned by selling.
One reward has been an annual paid vacation with my husband and having a will. I’m not going to talk about the honeymoon part of it; as exciting as that was. I’m talking to you about when the kids were little, loud and busy. When we were forced to write a will before we left on a plane without them. Seriously. When we were forced to confront endless possible scenarios and get it settled for them and us. How is this rewarding ? Because it forced us to do what we would have otherwise put off. To be honest with ourselves and our children. To be hopeful, and plan for all kinds of variables. Because we felt safer and calmer. Weird? Maybe. I dare you to try it.
How else rewarding? Rewarding in the camaraderie among women that I’ve enjoyed immensely: other women who are entrepreneurial, courageous and forthright; willing to say the hard things, and also willing to build me up when my self esteem was woefully weak. I cannot emphasize this enough. This changed my life. [And they weren’t paid to do so.]
The topic of rewarding must include how it feels to pull courage of our your back pocket in front of your kids. When you’ll show up for challenges because you know in your heart that authority is walking the walk. And asking your kids to be courageous starts with showing them what it takes; that it’s scary and uncertain, but worth sticking your neck out when you believe in something. The rewarding part is the feeling you get inside when you’re courageous. The even more rewarding part is when you watch your kids do the same thing.
What about this recruiting concept that is so maligned? This may surprise you because its rewards are first heart-felt. [When you create a lot of momentum it’s also financially rewarding.]
Why do we recruit when the rewards aren’t yet financially compelling? Now, I can only speak for the company I represent, but here goes. When you are recruited to sell for Pampered Chef, your recruiter is taking from her pocket and putting money in yours. This is rarely spoken of so I’m not surprised if this is news to you. She or he is investing her time with little or no pay to help you be successful; hoping that you’ll be wildly successful and she’ll be paid a tiny percentage of your success to pay her back for her time spent to lift you up and show you the ropes. Chances are you ‘ll be moderately successful but honestly, her bid will pay off in about 20% of the people she invests in. [Perhaps more on that another time.] Your growth, excitement and positive energy are her immediate reward.
It’s what we sometimes call the paycheque of the heart. And as humans, THAT is rewarding and compelling. And it’s not measured on an income statement. But it sure resonates in many hearts.