What I've Learned From A Year In Direct Sales
I really cannot believe how fast 2017 went.. I know everyone says that but I swear it was just yesterday that I signed up to be an independent artist for Maskcara Beauty. I also swear it was just yesterday that we brought our sweet baby boy home! I'm telling you, babies make time go so fast, it's not fair!! Anyway.. back to the topic here haha I wanted to reflect on this last year and share a few things I've learned from being part of a direct sales company and what I've learned about myself last year. I don't think I have to say this but I will anyway, this is NOT a recruiting post or some sort of gimmicky sap story. It's just me sharing my experience and hoping that I can relate to or inspire some of my readers! With that, let's go!
DIRECT SALES IS NOT EVIL
Yes, this is the first thing I learned which I know you can say is just because I am part of it so OF COURSE I would say that but let me explain. Upon joining this company, I really struggled with my own doubts and preconceptions of direct sales. I had seen all the crappy things and had been taught by our culture to be wary and even annoyed by people in direct sales. I was SO worried about what people would think of me and afraid to even tell people that I had joined. But guess what? Not all direct sales companies are created equal. And not all direct sales reps are the same.. like NOT AT ALL! After a whole year of being with this company, I've only seen goodness and kindness between artists and complete integrity and positivity between the company and the artists.
I have trouble explaining it but the best I can say is it hasn't been at all what I feared a direct sales company would be and I've never once regretted or questioned my decision to become an artist! All the bad examples and stigmas aside, I see so much good from direct sales and I love that it's giving people the opportunity to chase their dreams while working at home and providing a living for their family without sacrificing the time being with them.
HOBBY VS BUSINESS
One of the hardest things I battled with last year was treating this like a hobby instead of a business. It was hard to find a balance between that and my mom responsibilities and working with my husband on our main business. At times I lost drive and focus and just thought "well I'll do it when I have time" or "I don't know where to begin so I'm just not going to do anything for now." The main thing that caused me to treat this like a hobby was just being lazy about evrything. I don't believe you need to kill yourself to make a busineess successful but you do need to work hard and smart! It took me way too long to realize that posting some photos on instagram, creating a Facebook group/page, and doing a live video here and there just wasn't enough. How could I expect people to take me seriously as a brand and a business if I wasn't myself? I knew I needed a real plan, a real structure, a real brand, and a real schedule. Of course, my husband and kids ALWAYS come first and being a SAHM will always be my number one priority but that doesn't mean I have to fill the mom role 24/7 and that I can't MAKE time for my business.
BE DRIVEN BY RELATIONSHIPS NOT MONEY
For the first few months of being an independent artist, I put too much stress and emphasis on the money. I attached my level of success and happiness to the amount on the paycheck. I wrongly viewed people as a potential sale and became obsessive and desperate over how to quickly grow my business and become rich! This my friends, is the ugly side of direct sales. This is the WRONG way to do it and the reason people feel yucky about MLM's. I'm NOT saying that the money isn't important and that it's wrong to want it and need it. Of course we do, we need money to survive and we want it to enjoy life more fully. Every business wants to make a profit and it's not wrong that I would want to as well. HOWEVER, when I started to focus on helping people and building genuine relationships and connections with others, my business really started to grow and I felt a deeper form of success. It wasn't about ME and what I needed from others (aka their money) it was about THEM and what they needed and how I could serve them and better their lives. I'm so glad I finally figured this out and I love that it goes so well with Maskcara's mission statement
"Everything we do and everything we create is based on what we believe in. That helping others look beautiful is nice but helping them BELIEVE they are beautiful is life changing..."
I HAVE WAY MORE POTENTIAL AND TALENTS THAN I KNEW
Anyone in direct sales can tell you it's the best sort of self-discovery and improvement course you could take! It has a way of unearthing all of your fears and insecurities about yourself and for many, it's a hard process that they can't get past. It's a constant battle of feeding those voices in your head and letting yourself feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and even like a total failure. This isn't the company's fault, it's realizing that in order to connect with others and build a trust and loyalty with potential customers; you have to put yourself out there and do things you've never done and things that might make you uncomfortable. I'll admit, it wasn't fun at first. It was hard to push myself and to get out of my own way and to really accept my flaws and be proud of my strengths.
The moment I realized I was worth way more than I gave myself credit for and that I COULD do hard things, my life CHANGED. I stopped living by fear and started living by love. A love for others but more importantly a love for myself. My life became more intentional, happier, and full of positivity. I viewed doing things out of my comfort zone as a healthy challenge rather than a difficult nightmare. I repeated to myself that I DESERVE happiness and that I CAN and will reach my goals and dreams. I don't have to settle for a life that's less than what I want and a life that's driven paycheck to paycheck and spending precious time away from my kids working. I CAN HAVE IT ALL.
I KNOW direct sales or network marketing isn't for everyone so I won't pretend or preach that it is. I know it takes a lot of determination, consistency, faith, patience and vulnerability. All of which I didn't think I had or that I'm still strengthening but oh is it worth it. My plan by my 2nd anniversary (Jan 2019) is to be making a full time income for my family! And in 5 years?... we're thinking a millionaire but we'll just have to wait and see :)