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I had the pleasure of attending an incredible direct sales social media conference this past weekend. I expected to walk away with a ton of new ideas, new contacts, a new passion for my profession. And instead, I got smacked upside the head and realized I was demeaning my profession and apologizing inadvertently for something I love.
My mindset was all wrong.
My entry into direct sales began as a hobbyist. I found a product I love, I thought it would be fun to play with the product and share the product with my friends. I never really thought about making any money with the product until I started making a little money with the product. So, I tried, a little, but never too much, because I am a professional woman. I own suits and everything.
In my age group, there is a stigma against direct sales. My generation doesn’t like it, doesn’t respect it, isn’t interested in it.
Only, we are. But we’re embarrassed about it. We like buying it, don’t get me wrong, shopping in our yoga pants with a glass of wine and a box of Girl Scout cookies (or a box of wine and a glass of Girl Scout cookies, no judgement) after the kids go to bed is just fine. But we don’t respect those who sell.
Maybe it’s because we’ve seen so many people do it wrong. Maybe it’s an ugly, competitive part of being a woman. And maybe, just maybe part of the problem is we direct sellers aren’t standing up for ourselves and proud of our profession.
I was in Arizona only my body didn’t realize it, so I was up each morning before 5 and I sat outside drinking coffee, chatting with another attendee. “I never say I’m a business owner,” she said. “My friend, when someone asks her what she does, she says she owns a business. Period. The end. I don’t. I (sheepishly) say I’m with my brand, like I’m apologizing.”
It stopped me in my tracks.
How many times had I done the same thing? Too many.
I didn’t go to college and work my way up through corporate America just to be that girl who has parties.
Only that’s not what today’s direct sales is. I’m the CEO, the finance chic, the inventory control specialist, graphic designer, chief bottle washer, in charge of marketing and customer service and shipping.
Not only that, I work with other women every single day whose lives are being changed because they have stepped outside of their comfort zones and joined a direct sales company. Literally, they are changing their lives from the inside out. They are building self confidence, changing the financial landscape for their families, creating role models for their daughters. What part of that should I be ashamed or embarrassed about?
I am a business. A business of one. My success depends on no one but me. And being ashamed or embarrassed of my business is not the mindset of a successful entrepreneur.
The next time I meet a stranger and they ask what I do, I’ll tell them proudly, I’m a business owner, part of my Elevator Pitch. And I hope you will too.
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