Business Tips and Tricks

Strategies of Being Self-Employed

Sitting at my desk this morning struggling on what to write about….. I don’t have many days like this but I am grateful for A LOT of past posts to go back and rewrite or tweak.  Today is one of those days….  I wrote the original post in 2014.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

 

2014 was a busy year for me…. my Thirty One business was thriving and I was working a J.O.B. part time.  I think back to why I wanted to work for myself – in the beginning, oh so many years ago, I thought it would be fun to turn a hobby into making money.  Work when I want, do something I love which at the time was making premature baby clothes and the success would happen.  I never really thought about the business side of things.  It was my first learning lesson in owning my own business.  BUT the dream to be my own boss never died…

There were may other self-employment attempts which worked for a season…. let’s fast forward to today… today, my reason for being my own boss is so different.  I need to be able to make my own hours, I want to make money at something I love, and I need to have the flexibility to work when I can since my MS seems to decide to flare up at the worst times..  Being my own boss allows me to be available for family too.  It has allowed me to pay off old credit card debt.  It is a blessing I am truly grateful for.

Over the last year or so, I have split my time between my Thirty One business and my craft business ” Angels by Hope”.  I will always be a Thirty One girl but I struggle with providing the same quality customer service I did in past years.  Lists no longer seem to help and I get confused easily.  So hard to keep up with all of the amazing prints, products and specials.  My angels, on the other hand, have allowed me a creative outlet to move at my own pass.  I make angels, people buy them.  On occasion I get an order or two and can quickly get them out.  On days I struggle – I do nothing knowing I have stock to carry me through my next show.

I have heard many say “I want to be my own boss” or “I want my own business”.  They quickly join the direct sales bandwagon only to find out it takes work.  YUP!  Yes, your product may be amazing and sell itself.  Yes, the first few months are awesome because everyone wants to help you BUT what happens when friends and family stop buying to “help out”?  Many give up but there are some great strategies to help you build a successful business.

A blog on self-employed.com about “flexible strategies for the self-employed” had some great tips.  I’m not sure if they work for everyone but check them out and let us know what you think.

#1 – Strategize Your Time

Are you attached to your mobile device?  Are you a multi-tasker?  Believe it is or not, it could definitely be a problem.  I am forever sneaking in time to check my phone while waiting in line at the store.  Some would say this is great time management….. BUT since my business relies on connecting with other people, I can’t really connect when my head buried in my phone in the checkout line, right?  It is possible to “kill two birds with one stone” but be aware of your surroundings.

#2 Work Anywhere, Anytime

Inspiration can strike at any time. Are you able to leverage the motivation into something tangible? Keep this in perspective.  Being inspired is AWESOME but working all of the time, is not.  Make a note of things, take a picture but you don’t want to be remembered as the one who missed out on XYZ because you were working.

#3 Access to Everything, Everywhere

Do you use the cloud?   I am a MAC girl but I definitely am still learning how to use the cloud.  The idea of the cloud or Google Drive is you have the freedom to access your computer, no matter where you are, near or far.  Some days, I am grateful I don’t have access as I am sure my family is so I stop working and treasure the moments with them.

Your business is flexible, not optional#4 Flexible Living

Don’t use work as an excuse to not partake in the joys of life. Say “yes” and then figure out a strategy to make it happen. Isn’t this the main reason we all wanted to have our own business…

So, what are your thoughts on being self-employed – the good, the bad and the ugly?  Share them with us..

Have a blessed day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Words Can Boost or Kill a Sale

The holiday shopping has kicked off – Halloween was barely over and Thanksgiving is still 5 days away.  The stores are already filled with holiday decorations.  In direct sales, and in most businesses, this is when we do 70% of our business.  It is a short window of opportunity and we need to make the most of it.  I am blessed that Thirty One does everything they can to support their consultants during this time of year (and all year long).  Stores run sales at all hours and for all kinds of things. Vendor shows are every where. Everyone is vying for your business, as well as our customers’ business.  So what makes YOU or your products or your company stand out.  What are you doing to capture that sale?

Words have power – so according to TheSelfEmployed.com there are some magic marketing words that will definitely boost sales.  So, here goes:

1. Sale – Who doesn’t love a good deal?

2. Off – If you can offer your audience an incentive like 50% off, or $25 off your next $75 purchase, you’ll pique interest quickly and give customers added incentive to buy. I have found that my customers aren’t not big fans of the “off” customer specials.  They LOVE when it is $5 or $7 or $10 especially when it is a HUGE savings for them.

3. New – So true.  When we have limited or NEW products, sales increase regardless of the time of year.

4. Best sellers – Although our BEST sellers open the door for conversations, they may not be the thing that keeps your customer unless of course it fits their specific need.

5. Be the first – I LOVE giving my customers and hostess a sneak peak of new products,and upcoming offers.  Isn’t that the reason that the month a new catalog kicks off, our sales and party bookings are off the charts?

6. Thank you – I love to show my customers a little love once in a while with my Birthday Club or limited specials. When I reach a new goal, why not thank your customers with a new deal, or host a customer appreciation event.  I love sending “snail mail” to my customers and party guests when they place an order.  Host a party for me and I will show you the love BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the party with little gifts.

7. Remember– Your customers are busy, so it’s always a good idea to send reminder emails. Follow-up like this is not one of my strong points but I definitely need to get on the ball.  I need to make reminder calls especially to those in my Birthday club, maybe that would increase my redemption rate.

Just as words can boost sales, they can KILL your sales too.  How many of these do you use?

1. Hurry – Yes, you want to encourage customers to act fast, but this word is overused and doesn’t pack as much punch as “Act now” or “Limited-time offer.”

2. Guaranteed – Nothing in life is guaranteed, Fischgrund reminds us; so it’s best to stay away from this word. You can still back your product or service, just refrain from using the word “guaranteed.”

3. Huge – Every sale and event is huge. Think of alternatives to use. For instance, “Our Biggest Sale of the Year.” It’s more descriptive.

4. Hassle-free – Sure, the phrase seems positive, but you’re still associating the word “hassle” with your business or brand. Not a good idea. Go with “easy” instead.Think of  Staples “easy” button.

5. Once in a lifetime – Cliché, and typically untrue phrases like this don’t help your sales. Be original.

6. SAVE UP TO 25% RIGHT NOW!!!! – There are two red flags in this statement. For starters, don’t use all caps; it makes people feel like you’re screaming at them. Keep your punctuation to a minimum, too. The sale isn’t any more enticing with three exclamation points.

What are YOUR favorite marketing words to use during the holiday season or any time of the year?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Strategies for the Self Employed

Today starts the whirlwind of a weekend for me….I am always grateful for the beginning of the week so I can rest up especially this time of the year.  Today is a my J.O.B. followed by a fun way of connecting with new customers.  I am going to be judge at a local Halloween Costume event.  So, I will get to meet some new people, share the gift of Thirty One AND have some fun.  Who wouldn’t love a job like this right?

When I think back to why I wanted to work for myself – in the beginning, oh so many years ago, I thought it would be fun  to turn a hobby into making money.  Work when I want, do something I love which at the time was making premature baby clothes and the success would happen.  I never really thought about the business side of things.  This was my first failure.  The dream to be my own boss never died…

I will skip some of the other self-employment attempts and jump to today… today, my reason for being my own boss is so much different.  I want to be able to make my own hours, make money at something I love but I want flexibility to work when and where I want.  This allows me to visit my daughter in North Carolina and be available when needed for family.  My goal is to pay off debt – especially old credit cards from those days of being a shopaholic (a recent addiction that I have overcome).

My biggest problem or what I still struggle with is managing the work load and getting everything done that I want to get done in a timely manner.  The joy of today’s multiple mobile devices allows us to work from anywhere but that is also a problem.  We are no longer locked into one location but we have the flexibility to take our business with us.  We call this being productive but is it? Does it allow me to continue to be a workaholic instead of learning to manage my time and my business.

I saw a blog on self-employed.com about strategies for “flexible strategies for the self-employed” but I am not sure if they work for everyone – especially those of us who can easily become workaholics.

Strategize Your Time – The fact that I am always trying to multi-task is sometime a problem.  I find myself checking my phone for emails when I am waiting in line.  No big deal when I am by myself or is it?  The truth is, as a party planner, part of my business is to connect with other people and can I really do that when I have my head buried in my phone in the checkout line?  Using my laptop while I am sitting in the living room with hubby, is sometimes a problem because as he says when I ask him to repeat something “you always have your head buried, so you never hear me”.  OUCH! So, yes it is possible to “kill two birds with one stone” but be aware of your surroundings too.

Work Anywhere, Anytime  – Inspiration can strike at any time. Are you able to leverage that motivation into something tangible? Keep this in perspective.  Being inspired is AWESOME but working all of the time, is not.  Make a note of things, take a picture but you don’t want to be remembered as the one who missed out on XYZ because you were working.

Access to Everything, Everywhere – I have the cloud since I am now a MAC girl but I am still trying to learn how to use it.  So, I only have access to things that are on my phone or tablet or laptop depending on what I have with me at the moment.  The ideal is to use with the cloud or Google Drive or something where you have the freedom to access what is on your computer, no matter where you are, near or far.  Some days, I am grateful that I don’t have access as I am sure my family is too so that I stop working and treasure the moments with them.

Flexible Living – Don’t use work as an excuse to not partake in the joys of life. Say “yes” and then figure out a strategy to make it happen. Isn’t this the main reason we all wanted to have our own business…

So, what are your thoughts on being self-employed – the good, the bad and the ugly?  Share them with us..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Home Office, Hope Wissel

Are you BREAKING the RULES

Over the last few weeks, I seem to be struggling with managing my time or should I say, it is managing me! My schedule was always – up by 6AM, devotions, paperwork and then hit the phones.  All being done by about 12Noon with the afternoon free or with time to relax with hubby before both of us headed to work.  I am not sure why or how that all changed but now I am struggling getting up at 6AM and it seems like I am working all the time (or checking my phone for messages).  UGH!  I am sure that some would say that I need the extra sleep.  The nights I work till 11PM, come home and then spend about an hour on the computer catching up on emails and messages definitely eats into my usual sleep pattern.  I actually miss the days of getting up early and getting things done so that I had FREE time.

I LOVE working from home and I definitely need to re-evaluate my time management.  An article in “theselfemployed.com” by Matthew Anderson talked about the rules of working from home. The focus of the article was about setting up rules so that you are creating an actual office in your home as opposed to going to an office every day.   So, here goes – let’s see how many of them I am breaking and that I need to get back in the habit of…

Set A Morning Routine Set up a routine that you can adhere to every single day and then stick with it, and do everything in the same order every morning. When you’re done with your routine, you should have taken care of anything you’d need to do before it’s time to buckle down and work, so there are no distractions once you “clock in” and get down to business.  Okay, so I guess the first thing is to actually get UP when the alarm clock rings instead of hitting the off button (notice I didn’t say snooze button).

Separate Work and Life:  Most days I can do this.  I work in my office and then spend time with hubby.  Being in direct sales, I find there are times when the two collide or that I work when I am with hubby.  He is okay with this as long as it isn’t ALL of the time.  He even nudges me sometimes to share Thirty One with people who I am around or points out opportunities that I might have missed or am hesitant because we are enjoying time together.  I am not perfect at this one but I definitely can do it!

Stay Positive:  This is so much easier for me now that I start every morning with devotionals.  Time to drink my tea and talk with God.

For the rest of Matthew’s article, click the link.  These are the ones that stood out for me this morning as I try to figure out a NEW morning routine.  I am open for suggestions, share your tips for managing your time at home or in your home office better.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

FULL-TIME AND A SIDE BUSINESS

I have heard a lot of talk from members of my team trying to figure out how to do BOTH their full-time job and run their Thirty One business.  I will admit it is a challenge but ALOT of Thirty One consultants and some up the line of Leadership continue to do both.  I have to be honest, for me, it was a HUGE struggle.  I admit it.

When I started with Thirty One, I had a 24/7 job.  As the Chief Operating Officer for a non-profit, I was on call 24/7 – or it always seemed like that.  In addition, I commuted 4 hours round trip per day (only 4 days a week) to get to the job.  So, in the beginning Thirty One was a hobby.  It was my dream to some day quit my full-time job and devote myself to my Thirty One business.  Was that going to happen while I was working these crazy hours – NO!  I was blessed with a hubby who said “just quit”.  I will give you one year to get your business self-sufficient or we will need to re-think things.  You can bet, I get my ASK in gear.  I had no desire to go back to work full-time.

Since I left my full-time job, I have been blessed with parties, sales and a growing team.  I would consider myself on “my way” to a thriving business.  I make enough to cover bills but I DREAM BIG.  I want to make sure that I can take hubby on a vacation without him paying a cent out of our savings.  Yes, I took on a part-time job for a  multitude of reasons but it is one of those jobs that I can go in, do my hours and go home.  DONE!

So, if you want to figure out how to juggle both a full-time and a side business, here are some tips from “theselfemployed.com“:

As an employee, be careful not to do anything that could affect your full- time job. The following simple rules will help you meet this challenge:

Rule #1: Make sure your employment agreement allows you to own a side business.  Determine if your employment agreement allows you to have a side business. While most employees don’t have business ownership restrictions, some companies do impose them.

Rule #2: Run your business on your own time.  This was a challenge for me since I had my own office and worked all the time for my full-time job.  I know, some would say that I was robbing my employer but my boss knew what I was doing and was okay with it as long as I met all of the other daily requirements of the job.  That didn’t mean I was working my Thirty One business all day but an occasional call or having a mini presentation during lunch was okay.  Every employee owes their employer their full attention during work hours, so you should work on your side business only during your free time. Refrain from running your own company during work hours.

Rule #3: Use your own resources and tools.  Don’t use their office supplies, copiers, computers, or equipment of any kind. Many companies consider this a serious offense that is often grounds for immediate termination.

Rule #4: Don’t compete against your employer.  It’s not ethical and could ruin your reputation permanently. If your side business does compete with your employer, you only have two options: quit your job or close your business.

Rule #5: Be discreet.  Again, I was blessed to work in the non-profit faith-based arena and the values of Thirty One coincided with the agency’s mission.  As a result, I could share what I did without it hurting my job and my creditability in the community.  Be aware that this is not always the case.

Rule #6: Leave when the time is right.  If your side business is successful, it will grow to the point where it demands your full attention. Eventually, you must decide if you have to quit your job and work full-time in your venture. When you reach that point and are certain that your business is sustainable – consider quitting.

I know this was a LONG post but I wanted to share my thoughts along with the great tips from the article.  Share how YOU are juggling both your full-time and your side business whatever it may be.  Your tips may help someone who is struggling.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!