I was thinking last night about how different this year’s Small Business Saturday is compared to one 9 years ago and wanted to share my story. Back in 2006 on Small Business Saturday, I had been unemployed for almost 6 weeks. I was looking for a job but hoping not to find one because I just did not want to go back to the 8-5+, working for someone else, having someone else determine my worth and value every year.
I had always been a shy introvert with very little self esteem but deep inside I knew I was meant for more. I knew there had to be more to life than just working to pay the bills. I was already involved in a couple direct sales companies mostly for the discount and friendships but certainly never thought it was something that I could do as a business much less that it could provide a full time income and rewarding career.
I started working part time at a Beauty & Tanning Salon that a family friend owned and was pretty much living off credit cards at this point. That year for Christmas I traded administrative and graphic design services for products from direct sales friends for gifts for my family because I did not have the $ to buy gifts but I did not want my family to know just how bad things were for me.
I remember going to a job interview at a local telecommunications company and crying the entire drive home just praying I wouldn’t get the job offer. It wasn’t long after that when I decided to go for it with 1 of my direct sales businesses to at least bring in some income until I found a job I thought I might actually like. I loved the product, liked the friendships and confidence I was gaining from it and figured I had nothing to lose so why not give it my all for a few months and see what happened.
My family & most of my friends thought I was crazy. They felt it was risky and that I needed to be in a traditional job since I was 24 and single, living on my own. My recruiter lived in another state, our upline leader was getting ready to have her first child and decided to quit the business & the leader above her I had never even heard from. I had never been to an actual training, party or meeting. I did not know a lot of people in my local area and I was terrified to talk to strangers. The thought of being front of people demonstrating products at a party made me want to throw up. The voice in my head kept reminding me that this could all be just another humiliating failure.
My heart’s desire for something more for my life was stronger than any of those fears or possibilities of failure. My determination to not have to go back to an 8-5 working for someone else was stronger than the negative opinions of others. My commitment to my dreams was stronger than of the excuses I had made most of my life. I had come to that point when it was do or die trying. I literally had nothing, nothing left to lose at all.
I dove right into the business, I started reading books, blogs, small business training, connecting with other successful direct sellers and networking up a storm! I quickly realized that I absolutely loved online marketing (and was pretty good at it without having to be salesy) and training others on how to do exactly what I was doing so my team began growing by leaps and bounds. The best part was that we were all having so much fun achieving our goals together, supporting each other and earning prizes and it did not feel like work at all.
I advanced a level each month and within less than 6 months of saying “let’s see what happens”, I had replaced my previous full-time income. 3 months later I earned my first all expense trip for 2 to Hawaii and 12 months after that I earned the keys & title to my very own hardtop convertible. The following year I was recognized on stage at our annual conference as the #17 Director in Team Sales in all the US & Canada for the previous year. I have earned all kinds of trips, prizes, money & jewelry over the years but the best rewards have truly been the confidence and friendships and getting to live life on my terms, not someone else’s.
Pretty amazing what all happened when I decided to just give it my best and “see what happens”. 9+ years later and I’m doing something I love even more than my direct sales business – coaching & teaching others how to be successful in direct sales. When someone tells me that they have seen growth in their business or personal mindset through working with me or my training, it just makes my heart soar. I feel so grateful and humbled to be where I am today.
9 years has went by in a flash. It wasn’t all easy, I made a lot of mistakes, I failed more times than I succeeded, but I kept getting back up and trying again. It was all a risk but so is anything that you do in life, so why not give it your all and “see what happens”. That is what it takes to succeed in life and business.
I want you to stop for a minute and think how different your next Small Business Saturday could be from this one. What would you like to achieve or accomplish before then? How would you like your business to look? How much income would you like to be making? What trips, incentives or bonuses would you like to have earned? What personal goals would you like to have achieved? How would you like to feel about yourself & your business? Take a few minutes to envision this and write down what comes to your mind.
You don’t have to be outgoing, extroverted, know everything about everything, pushy or salesy to be successful but you do need to learn how to run your business like a business, develop the right mindset & implement the skills of an authentic marketer. You only need to make a decision to change things and then begin taking action to live the life you have been dreaming of.