Don’t Let Me Get Me

     Pink is awesome. I often sing that song to myself when I feel especially in need of a kick in the behind. Here it is, October 19th, and I don’t have a single Challenge taker yet.

     ” It seems that I been busy doin’ somethin’ close to nuthin’, but different from the day before.” ~ Prince. 

     Well, that’s not really fair. I have been doing things. I have a truly cool event coming up and I’ve had several ladies say they would probably attend. I went to a store in the mall and set up to have a booth. I also have a booth in an upcoming craft fair. I have a Coffee Shop scheduled for November as well. And I saw that several of my business cards were gone from my Coffee Shop flier. No calls from those yet, but I hope to hear from some of them soon.

     Things have been crazy at my full-time job and I’m usually wanting nothing more than my slippers and to curl up in bed at the end of the day. Unfortunately, I have too often indulged in this. Instead of making calls, either follow-up or appointment making, I’m checking out the latest episode of Paranormal Witness or Dexter. Also, my son has gotten me hooked on the Game of Thrones book series. I’m a sucker for reading. I read everything. Books, magazines, the back of shampoo bottles, the insert in a box of tampons. Yeah, I typed that.

     To me, Fall is about coziness. Warm robes, hot cocoa, smells of cinnamon and coffee, crisp breezes, decaying leaves, soft slippers and hours of reading on the porch. It is not cozy to make phone calls that make your palms sweat while you wait for someone to answer. I hate making phone calls. I really hate leaving messages. I leave the worst messages! I do ok while identifying myself, but then something goes awry and there’s long uncomfortable pauses while I come up with a way to sound clever or at least make my point. The pauses pretty much do away with any hope of that. Or I can’t keep it short and sweet and I end up sounding like a drunken rambler a la Margot Kidder in the “Can You Read My Mind?” monologue from the first Superman movie. Dreadful!

     What all this procrastinating is doing is feeding my deep well of doubt regarding my ability to do this job with any amount of success. As mentioned, I haven’t had any Challenge takers,  I had an unexpected and disastrous banking issue which caused me to lose about $150 of desperately needed funds, a product returned (unused, not dis-satisfied with) and I’ve lost one personal team member and the other is closing fast on her inactive termination date. Let’s not even mention the wretched, horrible, family related drama that makes the idea of alcoholism faintly appealing.

     October is generally my favorite month but this time I’ve had a  particularly bumpy road to follow. Rack up a few new scars on the knees and I think I might’ve scraped my nose a good one too. But……so what? I’m not dead am I? I expected to lose team members; I’ve said so from the beginning. And that banking thing?  Well, let’s just say I may be moving to a credit union in the near future, but I was able to take care of it, albeit minus the $150. The product return? Well, that’s why we have a guarantee which I am always happy to honor.

      I am thinking, however, that I might discontinue this challenge program. I’ve offered something new to a few ladies and this seems to be generating more interest. It’s the “$100 Shopping Spree with Me” offer. What this requires is a shopper who will invite 5 ladies over the age of 21, who either have never tried Mary Kay or have no current representative, to meet with me and play Mary Kay. There is no minimum to sell,  just the guests as I’ve said. If this requirement is met, the shopper gets a $100 shopping spree of Mary Kay products. I’m going to offer 10 of these a month.

     If I get this done, I will have seen 50 new faces in one month. That gets me my Power Start. Chances are, there’ll be at least 5 of those who will want to hear about the opportunity. Power Start Plus! And most of the time, if someone tries our products, they’ll want to purchase them. Our products are completely awesome and it’s another great way to help those who otherwise couldn’t afford what they want or need.

     My challenge was to keep this program going for a year and if I drop it, I’ll have missed the mark. But if it’s not working, is it wise to go on? I still believe the theory is sound but I’ve not been able to motivate anyone to complete the Bundle Challenge. In fact, I haven’t had anyone sell anything for a few months. Yet, I hate the thought of giving it up. I think it’s a great idea. And, unlike, the $100 Shopping Spree with Me, I at least am gauranteed not to use my personal funds to honor my part of the challenge.

      Thoughts, anyone?

 

This Wave of Doubt has a Strong Undertow

        Well….I got smacked between the eyes this weekend.

          As you may remember from a  previous post,  I mentioned that there are some people who see my failure in my Mary Kay business as a matter of course. They assume I’ll do poorly and try to be “honest” with me about how I’ll eventually end up licking my wounds and settling for my sub-par existence like a good girl. After all, they’re only trying to “prepare” me for what everyone else sees coming.

        It was also mentioned that women would rather buy their foundation cheaper and in a glass bottle with a pump whereas ours was just in a “plastic tube”. …Ouch. I wasn’t feeling all that well when this was said and my shields were down to 35% power, so my confidence took a direct hit. Fortunately, my starship was not destroyed.

        Now, don’t scold me. I’m well aware that I need to learn to brush that stuff off, but I was still smarting from only having 3 challenge takers this month and no sales from those. I had just written my last post about bravely going on and I was starting to feel foolish. After all, I wasn’t seeing the growth I had hoped for and everyone else was seeing me not having any success either. I started to consider giving this whole thing up. Because, well.., it costs money to put those packets together. It takes a lot of printer ink and a lot of paper. I spend a lot of time writing up the customer info cards and filling out 100 invitations to my challenge celebration. Not to mention what I’ve laid out for prizes and party supplies. And fewer challenge takers means a smaller well from which to draw new challenge takers from.

        Well….I went home and took some ibuprofen, said a prayer and climbed in bed. I had two guest scheduled for the brush clinic the next morning so I recited the Bilbo Baggins speech and went to the training center. One guest cancelled. The other not only showed up, but bought a bundle from one of my challenge takers. And she’s considering joining my team. Take THAT Smaug.

       I re-scheduled the guest that couldn’t make it and today I spoke to three people I hadn’t had the courage to speak to yet. Result: four new bookings. I have the challenge celebration on the third of September and I have some more leads to follow-up. I hope next week I’ll be a bit less pathetic and whiney. Why do I continue to doubt when this is so clearly the way I’m supposed to go?

       As for cheaper and in a pretty glass bottle? I say, first of all, what’s cheaper: a perfectly matched foundation that you’re happy and confident in or one that may or may not match your skin tone?  A foundation that offers a full money back guarantee or one you may not be able to return? A foundation that comes in a glass bottle or one that lasts 5 months with everyday use, has anti-aging properties and comes in a plastic tube that you can not only squeeze every last drop from, but is easier to recycle? If it lasts 5 months ( and for some ladies it lasts much longer), and it’s $20 a tube, that’s a grand total of $4 a month when you break it down. Hmmm…a dollar a week. And that’s our highest priced foundation. I’d say that’s pretty economical.

     So. I had a bad few days. In Mary Kay bloody knees are mentioned  frequently.  I was all set to say I have a new scratch when I just now realized I have not had a fall. I didn’t give up,  I just thought about it. So this is more like a stubbed toe. It’s painful and I hobbled for a while and did that “Hsssss…owww….hssss..owww…hssss..owww” thing as I went but….I went forward.  Hooray for Bilbo!

     Oh yeah, and I sorta committed to submitting for DIQ by the end of November.  … *GULP*

5

Harnessing the wisdom of Bilbo Baggins

       Yup. Bilbo Baggins. Arguably one of the BEST characters ever written, in what is, in my opinion, one of the best books ever written. I refer, of course, to The Hobbit. He’s a pivotal character in subsequent books, but I am partial to him in this one.

        I love Bilbo. He’s small and just a bit fat. He loves to eat, sleep, and read books. He bakes. He tends his garden and he always carries a pocket handkerchief. He’s civilized and doesn’t like to be uncomfortable.  He’s not into adventures. Until Gandalf comes along and spoils it all.

        Yeah, o.k., Gandalf  knew he just needed a push to get up and out and become more than he’d ever considered possible. In the end, Bilbo was wealthy, respected and proud of who he had become. It’s a fantastic story that I read over and over again.

       I really identify with Bilbo. As certain readers of this blog can testify to, I’m small, a bit dumpy,  I love to eat, read and sleep. I bake, I HATE to be uncomfortable.  Thank God I was never a pioneer. Who could live without indoor plumbing? ..Deoderant? ..Chocolate? Well, not me.

      There are several analogies I could draw between myself  and Bilbo and I may, in all likelihood, return to that particualr theme in future posts. The thing I wanted to share with you kindly forebearing folks was what I like to call ” The Bilbo Baggins Speech”.

       This refers to the self-talk he does on his way to see the dragon Smaug for the first time. I say this speech whenever I’m about to face something I really need courage for. …Like on my way to the dentist’s chair, or trying something new, i.e. Mary Kay…or blogging. This is my condensed version of it:

       (thinking) “Now you’re in for it at last, Bilbo Baggins. Why are you here? You’ve no use for dragon treasures….Feel the worm’s heat, Mr. Baggins? A few more steps and you shall see the old dragon Smaug at last……You can still turn back you know..but to go on, to take those few steps, that would be the bravest of  ALL moments. Whatever happens afterwards is nothing. ….Yes, here is where you fight your real battle, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. ……Do you turn back?”  (aloud) “NO!”

       Then he goes forward and meets Smaug. I’m sure most of you are familiar with this story or, if not, then at least familiar with the Lord of the Rings movies, so it’s no spoiler to tell you he lives and is made fabulously wealthy with some of the dragon’s treasures.

      This has been a hard week for me. I’ve been putting off writing this because it’s the 18th and I still only have 3 challenge takers this month. And none of them has been able to sell anything. I knew when I started this program and this blog that there would be days and weeks and months like this, I just didn’t realize how hard it would be to write about them. I was obviously harboring secret hopes that it would be all lemon drops and milkshakes from now on. Failure and  blog posts  has been my Smaug.

       Well, part of this process is learning and over-coming difficulties. Besides, how could I help anyone struggling with belief in themselves when I had no hardships to deal with?  And this week has actually brought me some success. Because I’ve been talking to people more, I’ve gained new customers and I have not one, but two appointments for Saturday morning brush clinic . I know that probably sounds lame, but if you knew how anemic my appointment schedule has been, you’d know why that’s exciting.

      I’ve also had the opportunity to share this challenge idea with other Mary Kay consultants who’ve been struggling like me and they seem very excited about the whole thing. I’ve been able to e-mail them the documents they need and tell them how I’ve set mine up. I’m hopeful that if I can’t make this work, perhaps it will work for them, in which case, it’s still a success. …But I still believe it’ll work for me. Do I turn back?……..NO!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

        O.k, ..so…I borrowed that title. And there’s no bomb. I hope you’re not disappointed. If you are, you may need therapy, but we’ll save that for another blog. This is about MY issues, thank you.

        Well, as mentioned, there is no bomb. But there IS something I’m learning to recognize as major reason I’m not moving forward in business the way I’ve seen others do. It is…drum roll, please…..fear of public humiliation.  … A show of hands for those who  can relate?……Would it have been easier to ask for those who CAN’T?

        Yeah,  it’s not some earth-shattering revelation of self-discovery that will become the next big buzz-word in psychology. Just your run-of-the-mill fear that plagues us from the time we learn to care what others think of us. I have the sneaking suspicion that some people who know me are just waiting to see me give up this silly notion of becoming a successful business woman. They may never say so, but in their heads they’re thinking; “Good for her! She’s giving it a try. I just hope she’s not too disappointed when she finds out how hard it is and it doesn’t work like she thinks it will.”  They truly don’t want me to be disappointed, but that’s because they feel, if I am, it’s just the natural order of things.

        I’ve listened to words of caution all my life. I’ve been taught to be practical, look at things from all angles. Expect the best, but plan for the worst. Protect yourself from crushing defeat. This is often expressed in this way: ” Well, why don’t you just pray for God’s will in your life, no matter what that may be.”  Not that this isn’t good advice, it’s just given me a convenient fortress  in which to hold myself prisoner. I can couch my lack of faith by pointing the finger of blame at God saying; ” I guess it wasn’t His will for me, after all.” In fact, I don’t feel WORTHY of God’s best for me.

       This is complete crap. I am a person of deep and abiding faith and I’m aware some of you  reading this are not religous at all. I don’t have any intention of preaching to you, I just hope you can hear my heart in this and realize that this is where I come from. I honestly believe He has led me to this job. If I believe that, then I must believe He intends to see it come to good. I’m not one of those who hold to the health-and-wealth theory that if you obey God, you’ll be rich and never be seriously ill, but I do believe He works for our benefit.

        I also believe it’s His will that I be a blessing to others in all He asks me to do. I concieved the Challenge program after stuggling with finances last year. It was especially hard at Christmas. If I had’t had my business, I would’ve been able to pay my bills, but not buy any presents. Mary Kay gave me the means to buy presents from my sale profits. I thought about that when a director e-mailed us the idea for the first challenge I offered customers. I thought of how many others were probably in the same boat as me and what a relief it would be to have free items to give or to be able to indulge in some little luxuries that would otherwise be out of reach. I really, really want to be able to bless someone with this. It’s in my nature to serve others and I often feel I don’t do enough. But remembering how I felt has given me more will, courage and determination to ease some of that for others in a way available to me. I believe this is God’s way. I’m not going to let Him down.

The “Naked in Public” Nightmare

       Yeah, I pretty much feel like I’m naked in public by writing this blog. I have a couple of  friends who have blogs and both of them are exteremely talented and amusing. They both DESERVE to have a blog. Who wouldn’t want to read their stuff?  I, on the other hand, have a hard time coming up with a basic Face Book post.

     So, why am I writing this?

      By day, I am a full-time pre-school teacher of two-year-olds. While this can be a fulfilling job, it’s hard work and the pay isn’t exactly something you can live off of. I love my bosses and it’s a great environment, but it’s also a treadmill as far as finances go and it’s a job not a career.

      Enter Mary Kay.   I became a consultant about year and a half ago and the more I do it, the more I love it. THIS is the career I want and so I’ve come up with a way that I hope will help me reach my goal. That’s my challenge. What’s the way, you ask?   So glad you asked.

     Back in June, Mary Kay launched an amazing new mascara. To promote it, they are offering a limited edition bundle set of  the new mascara, the eye-makeup remover and an eye-lash curler with three replacement pads for $30.  One of our directors sent out an idea to help us further our business by suggesting we offer a challenge to ten of our best customers. The challenge was for each of the ten to find ten other women to buy the bundle for the sale price of $25. If they met that challenge, they, in turn, would recieve $100 free product of their choice. We would recieve the names and numbers of the buyers who would then be contacted to follow up on how they liked the product and then offered the free facial as a thank you. Voila! 100 new contacts.

     I offered this challenge and when I had 4 takers, I thought “Why not sweeten the deal and give them more incentive to find 10 buyers?”  So I offered a prize drawing on top of the free product to each challenge taker who sold 10 bundles. Then I thought “What if I have a party to celebrate their hard work and they can invite the buyers for their pampering session there?” Thus creating The End of the Challenge Celebration. Further, I thought, “What if I did this once a month with a different bundle for each challenge with an awesome prize drawing?” That would mean the potential for 100 new customers a month.

     Now comes the hard part; finding my challenge-takers. My challenge is to find 10 people a month willing to try and find 10 buyers of that month’s bundle. In June I had 6 takers. No one sold any. In July I offered the Satin Hands set as the bundle. I had 9 takers. I only had 4 items sold. But, both of those numbers are an increase from the previous month. This month I only have 3 takers so far. I’m trying to get 10 before the 15th of this month so they have time to find their 10 buyers. In their packets, I’ve included selling tips, product info, inspiration and 10 invitations to the Challenge Celebration. This month’s bundle is Satin Lips and a lip gloss in either Starry(clear shimmer) or Gold Rush as those are pretty universal.

       I’m hoping this blog will be motivation for me to work my hardest, be an inspiration to others and maybe an exchange of ideas, if you have any, on what will make this work. This challenge will be open to ANYone  who wants to take it. Who couldn’t use $100 extra dollars worth of quality, name brand product to use for themselves or give as gifts? Imagine, $100 worth of Christmas gifts YOU didn’t have to pay for. I even have people in other states taking this challenge since the products can be ordered from my website for the same price since shipping is free. All a buyer has to do is reference the challenge and month plus their contacts’ name so I know what to charge and whom to give credit for the sale. Easy as pie.

      So there it is. Out in public. Everyone will know if  I don’t make it. Naked in public.  However, everyone will ALSO know if I DO meet this challenge.

      Wish me luck, folks!