Business Tips and Tricks

Time for a Personal Rebrand?

Life has thrown me a curve ball and I don’t mean I am playing a game of baseball…..

Over the last three months, my direct sales business has been struggling.  Maybe it is me who has been struggling.  My bag is FULL – MS stuff, recovery, family and trying to continue my business to pay the bills.  It has been some of the worst months in three plus years.  Have I wallowed in a pity pot for a little bit?  YUP!  Did I beat myself up?  YUP!  I totally get how business fluctuates.  I am always grateful for a supportive network of other women business owners who help me to put things in perspective.

I know you are wondering………”what does this have to do with personal branding”, right?  During all of this, I have been thinking about my personal brand.  A way to incorporate my direct sales business with my angels.  I love both but trying to split my time has wrecked havoc on my health (or should I say my thought process).  I know, splitting my time between two loves is not good for either business, right?

What happens when your passion changes over time? In a recent article Dorie Clark‘s quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Clark emphasizes, “Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand — and take you seriously?”  This is where I’m at right NOW!  I have been in direct sales for 8 plus years and I am known for it, as I transition or merge the two, I need to get my current customers on both sides to embrace my new brand.

A personal rebrand isn’t easy! I mean isn’t it easier to continue along the same path where people know you for what you do best — or at least what they think you do best.  Over time, as your passions change, it’s only natural to pivot into new areas. Remember,  multiple rebranding will hold you back and create confusion, so follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to take your brand to the next level.

#1 Reflect: 

The first step in branding is to reflect on who you are, what you’ve accomplished and how you want the world to see you.  Search yourself on google – search your name, your business, or something people identify with you.  Ask friends you trust for their help.  Here are some  questions to help you to define your brand:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What are you good at?  
  3. What do you write about, talk about and share share about?  

#2 Define Your Personal Brand: 

You want  to simply stand out in the crowd by focusing on your unique gifts and what makes you different.  Is it something people relate to you?  When they see it, they think of you.  Is it a tagline?  Make a list of all of the things which make you stand out from the crowd.  In direct sales, this is extremely important because you want loyal customers, right?

#3 Create Your Brand:

Now you need to become visible, get yourself out there. Create an active social media presence with a personal website.  If you are in direct sales, you can usually change your URL to a catchy phrase or something which makes you stand out.  I used Go Daddy to change my direct sales website URL to “partywithHope”.  It is short and easy for customers to remember.  As for my angels it is simply a Facebook page of called “Hope’s Angel Connection”. PLUS  I always use my angel wings as a watermark on my graphics as a reminder of me!

#4 Connect to Others: 

Now you have a personal brand.  The next step is being visible in the arenas where you want to be successful. Know who you want your audience to be – stay at home moms, professionals, etc.  Get reviews or endorsements from customers, attend events, and network, to bolster and lend credibility to the brand you are marketing.  Don’t be shy about it – wear your brand every day.  I always have a ThirtyOne bag AND an angel charm on – each draw people into conversations.

Yup, it is really this simple. Remember, the success of personal branding depends on how well your audience understands your vision, and what you do best, as well as your authenticity. Share your brand with us!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Why Empathy is Good for Business

Today we are going to talk about “empathy”.  By definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  

I know you are thinking you work hard, isn’t it enough for a successful business?  The truth is there are a lot of great traits which go into being successful but in my own life, I have found empathy to be the most important quality.

As a social worker in recovery, I was able to relate to the struggles of my clients.  I was able to share my strength, hopes and experience.  I was able to let them see I had been where they were and had come out of it.  I was able to help some kick drugs, leave abusive relationships, overcome homelessness and get employment.  Was everyone successful? NO!  Some didn’t really want to move forward and weren’t ready to work hard.  I find the same thing when working with other direct sellers.

So why is empathy good for business, especially in direct sales?  

1. Empathy increases the know/like/trust factor

Regardless of the products you sell, people are more likely to connect with, relate to, and ultimately hire/buy from you.  Which of these people would you connect with?

* the person who shares the good, the bad and the ugly of where they were, of their product and offers to help you.
* the person who’s somehow a “natural”.
* the person who doesn’t tell you anything about themselves or their background.  The pushy sales type.

I bet you connected with the person who knows your struggle, didn’t you? It’s human nature! We’re more likely to know, like, and trust people who are similar to us. And – as I’m sure you know – we’re more likely to buy from people we know, like, and trust.

2. Empathy shows you have walked the walk

When you can show your clients you’ve been where they are, found a solution, and emerged triumphant, you’re modeling success.  You are demonstrating you’re empathetic to their struggles.  You are living proof they don’t have to stay stuck where they are! Living proof makes for pretty convincing marketing.

3. Empathy helps your clients/customers/team be more vulnerable with you

When you show them you understand them, you’re helping them feel safe. You’re showing them they can be honest and vulnerable with you. When you say “I get it. I used to be (fill in the blank),” you’re making it easier for them to open up to you.  And the more they open up to you, the more you can help them, and the better their results will be.

4. Data without empathy is meaningless

I look at data to see which blog posts people read, which tweets they liked, and what they purchased. But I want to know more.  I want to understand why they read the blog post or what problem I helped them solve.  It is with this information, we can move forward in our business.

So how can you show more empathy in your business?

  • What have you struggled with?
  • What hurdles have you overcome in your business?
  • And how does this make you uniquely well-qualified to help us overcome something similar?

Whatever your backstory is: share it. Help people to know, like, and trust you. Show them how you can help them overcome what they’re struggling with.

If you don’t know what they are struggling with or how you can help, ASK!  They will tell you.  It’s hard to empathize when you don’t know what they are struggling with, right?

I would love to hear from you.  Share your story with us.  Let us know how we can help you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

What Are Your Obstacles?

solitude-phoro

When I graduated college, work was all about moving up in the corporate world.  I never thought about being my own boss.  To me that was a lonely life – I needed people.

My first home-based business was “Special Tots” a line of premature baby clothes.  I designed them, cut them out, sewed them and then marketed them.  I loved it but I was not ready to be my own boss.  Then came “H.O.P.E. Consultants”, a grant management and consulting service for non-profit agencies.  A success but I missed the daily connections with people.  When I closed those doors to go back to non-profit development, I never thought I would be by own boss again.

Then life changed – Belinda was living in North Carolina, the commute to work was 4 hours round trip, I got married and there were some health struggles.  The pros of being my own boss: making my own hours, no commuting and doing something I loved far outweighed the BIGGEST con which was the lack of people.  YUP, I was ALONE.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my business.  But it tends to be solitary work. I write alone. I sit in the office alone talking to people on the phone.  I coach alone, mostly by phone.  I work from home, my team scattered about this and other states. The crazy part is that I question my passion when being “alone” gets lonely.

What’s missing is the connections!  Connection isn’t just “networking.” Connection isn’t just collaboration. Connection isn’t just communicating with people. I love how Valerie Burton describes it: “Connection is love. It is the moment, however brief, when your soul aligns with another and you serve one another’s needs in some way. It could be a smile, a touch, an idea, a word of encouragement, or act of support. But connection makes life and work juice”.  This is just one of the hurdles that you can expect when you work a solo-preneur.

How about blending Your Work Life with Your Home Life?  Most people enjoy the fact that an office job gives them the ability to leave their work at the office. This is tricky if you’re working in your home, and even tougher for those you live with. I have a separate office space in the house – a spare bedroom.  It prevents my business from intruding into every aspect of our personal lives– for the most part.  At least the physical aspects of it.  The advantage is that there is  no commuting!  Blending is a lot easier if you build your business around something you’re personally passionate about.

How about working longer and harder than ever before?  Many entrepreneurs say “I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep.”  That may be the case some days, but it will be especially true in the beginning.  You will do whatever it takes to get your business going.  The advantage is that you will work longer and harder, but it’s ultimately for your own gain.  Nothing is more satisfying than that!  While you will make time sacrifices, you’ll also have more flexibility.  I ultimately have the ability to change my schedule when I need to. There are certainly sacrifices toward owning your own business, but for successful entrepreneurs, the advantages far outweigh the difficulties.

No matter what the obstacle in owning your own home-based business, there is a solution.  The passion you have for your business combined with the desire to reach your goal will help you find that solution.  Need help finding those solutions, reach out… I will be more than happy to help you on your journey.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

No Money

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” ~Proverb

Three apple
Three apple

The back to school rush is on!  It has been a few years since I had to get Belinda back to school but I still remember the struggles.  I was a single mom who struggled to make ends meet.

Are your kids going back to school?  Have you just lost your job?  Have you left a job to start your own business?  Or are you unemployed and receiving assistance.

Think about YOUR bad money situation.  The time when you had to carefully watch your spending.  You weren’t able to afford simple luxuries like McDonald’s or a Starbucks coffee.   You worried about how to make ends meet.  Maybe you have a dream that you thought was impossible.  The kind that scares you to the core, makes your palms sweat, and your heart beat faster? Yep, that’s the one.

I have been there, done that and still sometimes manage to live paycheck to paycheck.  The reality is that we need to look at those times as blessings with LOTS of valuable lessons in them.  I know it is hard when you are struggling and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel BUT believe me there is a light.  You just need to focus on the end and enjoy the ride in between EVEN when it is bumpy.

When money was tight, I learned some lessons that I wanted to share with you:

1. You connect with people.

When we lack money, we become more dependent on others.  It can be a painful experience, but it can actually help you strengthen your connections. Allowing others to be there in moments of difficulty isn’t always easy (hello, pride).  When you share your vulnerability with others, you give them permission to do the same and you make deeper connections.  Build stronger relationships.

2. You realize your fears were overblown.

Let’s test your fears.  List all of the worst things that could happen if you don’t have enough money (or whatever your fear is).  Write them all down in detail.  It may look like this:

FEAR told me that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, so I’d end up on the street. I’d lose all my friends, I couldn’t afford to go out, so I’m at risk of starvation and potential death.

Has any of that happened?  Is it really going to happen?  Our minds imagine everything that can go wrong, and builds up our negative expectations.  The reality is rarely as bad as we imagine it will be.  Most of the scenarios exist in one place only: our imagination.

3. You tap into your inner strength.

When things around you are uncertain and unstable and life isn’t easy, you simply have to tap into your inner strength.  The only thing that you can control is YOU!  It is inside YOU that you can draw true and lasting strength.

4. You become more grateful.

When was the last time you were grateful for the little things – the ability to go for a walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, or playing in the park with the kids.  Maybe you can’t afford material things or things that others take for granted, BUT you are blessed.

Happiness isn’t derived from what we can buy, but from the gratitude and appreciation we gain from our own experiences.  Each day is a gift.  Good or bad, each day is a blessing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Connecting Through Social Media

creating-networks-of-interest-200x143

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a sponge for information and then sharing that information.  A fellow blogger (and Thirty One consultant) always talks about her business coach so I was curious – I mean she is a ROCKSTAR in the our company so why not see what makes her tick, right?

ROCKSTAR MOMPRENEURS has given me some definite pointers in building my business in just a few short videos.  I am an impulse shopper (part of my addictive nature), that I jump in feet first all of the time.   Then I think about things instead of checking things out first.  I mean that is how I joined Thirty One – looking for discounts and a little extra money!  This is another time, that I am glad that I jumped in.  I love that the video trainings are about 15 minutes in length which makes listening to them easy.

Alisha talks about building your list which simply means growing your network of people online.  How many of you have hundreds of people as “friends” on your Facebook page?  High school friends?  College Friends?  Customers? Friends of friends? Some of those people you probably haven’t talked to in ages, and have you looked at their Facebook page lately to see if they are even on Facebook?  I have to admit, this makes me a little uncomfortable reaching out to people who don’t really know me but I figure as long as we have some mutual friends, it is okay.

Maybe you are “puking” up your business and people have started to avoid you, could that be possible?  Remember that our business is all about building relationships not constantly posting about “buy my stuff” or “I need orders to meet my goal”.  There are many direct selling consultants that do that and after awhile, people get tired of seeing it, right?  They begin to avoid you, stop looking at your Facebook page and maybe even stop getting your notifications.  As a result, you have lost the opportunity to build a relationship and a potential customer or hostess.

What if you were to change the way you did thing?  What if you ONLY posted about specific business things when the opportunity presented itself? I LOVE this advice:

 Do you realize the potential of the number of people you can be exposed to through social media that you don’t even know yet! It’s all about “other people”, and who they know, that now you have the opportunity if you consistently play in the world of social media to get to know, build a relationship and BOOM!!! Add to your list!!! Then repeat.

As I begin planning for 2015 (it is never too early), I am reaching out to NEW people to make those connections.  What about you?  Will you connect with new people in an effort to grow your business by letting them get to know YOU?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#buildingrelatioships

#connections