Business is About Relationships

friendships

I recently got a FB message from a dear old friend and neighbor letting me know that she’d found me as a consultant when she was wanting to purchase some Arbonne products. It was totally out-of-the-blue and such a neat surprise!! I had not connected with her in a few years, as she moved to California and we’ve been traveling.

I gave her a call, and we were able to catch up for a while. Both of us have two boys and a girl, and it’s been neat to watch each other’s children grow up on social media. But it’s completely different to get to talk in person and have someone fill in the gaps of time for you. It was such a treat!

That is one of the main reasons I love direct sales and business in general. It offers a unique focal point, incentive, and impetus to get in touch and stay in touch with those people you care about. Life is busy and the hours and days pass quickly. As much as we don’t like it, it’s hard to consistently stay in touch with people where there is “just one point of resonance.” (quoting my friend Joyce, here!)

We find ourselves hanging with co-workers or team parents or neighbors just because of convenience. (although, we are pretty lucky to have awesome friendships with our kids’ teams’ parents and have had awesome neighbors in the past, too!)

But imagine if you got to connect regularly with those people you enjoy the most! Those that share same values and goals. Family, health, financial freedom, fun, personal growth, adventure, helping others. That’s what business looks like for me.

People are savvy enough to do a sniff test around manipulation. Business is about bringing real value. And about genuinely caring about someone else’s problems or challenges. If you listen well, you can usually find some place where you can offer help – whether it’s a new contact, a product, or a resource. Sometimes, it’s just a listening and compassionate ear. I try to always be honest, thinking about what would work best for the other person.

If that’s the way you also like to do business, we should talk. Would love to share more about an opportunity that could be meaningful and profitable for you and your family!

Best Way to Learn

…is to just jump in and do it. There are many people (myself included sometimes!) who are more comfortable taking their time, thinking about things, planning, and preparing for a situation.

And that is great. But honestly, the best way to learn how to do something is to just do it. I’ve seen this personally this month with a few things like tennis and snowboarding – and have seen this play out in business multiple times over.

I think it’s because the pressure makes us step up with a higher level of focus. When we do not have to “perform” or compete, we can be a little more lax with ourselves. In addition, reality is the best teacher. Everything is theoretical when we are in practice-mode. You discount real-time feedback or the various new emotions involved that can steer a situation.

Sure, there is that moment of fear or feeling like we are not ready yet – but once we get over that feeling, it really isn’t as difficult as we may have imagined. And really, what have we got to lose? Only much knowledge and new skills to gain!

 

Morning Routines

How do you start your day?

As for myself, I had been pretty unpredictable over the last several years of life, and would just jump into a work/homeschool/life juggling act each day. Often times, before mid-morning, I’d feel like the day had “gotten away from me.”

Over the last month or so, I’ve returned to a beautiful new habit – waking up earlier than everyone in the house and enjoying an intentional morning routine. I’ve found that it helps me to more eagerly actually get out of bed, as I look forward to those precious quiet moments. I don’t check my phone or email. But I spend some time reading, meditating, journaling, and even stretching or doing some simple exercises. It centers me for the day and helps to give me perspective. I feel more prepared and focused to tackle the variety of tasks and appointments that fill each day.

I began this as a way to get out of an emotional rut I had been in for a few weeks, and found it to be critical for change. But now that I have been practicing it for over a month, I see how it is great for continued growth in all areas of life – business and personal. I’d recommend to people in both situations – those who feel that life is out of control (in any particular or all areas) or those who are content in life but wanting to push towards new growth and bigger dreams.

One resource to start with is The Miracle Morning which gives some practical ideas for how to fill those first minutes of our day. I’d love to hear what your mornings are like and if any questions you have about kick-starting your days more intentionally.

 

Testing a Concept

As opposite as we are, Don and I are very similar when it comes to starting something new. We “test” the water before we jump all in.

Now, we are definitely not the type of people that test, test, test, test, and never really get wet because honestly, they never totally intended to in the first place. Those types are usually full of fear or need extremely high guarantees of success before they do anything.

But as an engineer and a refiner, we do enjoy building things well – companies and websites that really hit the mark.

So, we usually start small. Once there is enough evidence to demonstrate an owner’s commitment to a new idea, project, or company, we get as much information from them as possible to understand the needs and opportunities.

We map things out and set up the foundation well. Sometimes this is a branded website or new sales process.

Then we make sure there is actually a viable market for the particular service or company by testing it well. As we get feedback from the prospective clients or market, we tweak the content, layout, sales or service process with lightning speed to try and nail the target with greater success each time.

It’s really a fun way to work. Much less risk and investment on the part of our clients since we take away the pressure of the “if you build it, they will come” mentality.

Writer’s Block

I spend a lot of time working with professionals around writing and sharing their ideas online.

We help companies grow their revenue through building trust with prospects and keeping that trust with customers. One big part of that trust is grown through writing and sharing valuable content on their sites.

Sometimes it is easy for them to just sit down and write. They have earned a knowledge base through their experiences and research and can usually compose an article that connects with their audience fairly quickly.

But other times, it seems difficult to come up with a new topic.

What to do?

After the tried and true tips of going for a walk, exercising, or “clearing the decks,” I suggest thinking through the details of the week: Continue reading “Writer’s Block”

Setting Goals

It is common knowledge that defining goals sets successful people apart from the masses. There is a desire and clarity which allows them to focus and work towards something very concrete.

I remember a mentor in college who would always say, “If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.” It’s so easy to just go through the motions in life, only paying heed to the necessities and urgencies of the day. Life quickly becomes a boring blur, void of purpose and perspective.

But goals can excite us and give meaning to the seemingly mundane steps towards something bigger.

If you find yourself floundering at the start of this new year, set aside some time for yourself to get your head above the clouds and define some clear career or personal goals for yourself. If you accomplished what you already set out to do last year, it’s time to set even bigger goals.

Block off a few hours. Go for a run or a hike to clear your mind.

Invite a few others whom you trust to help you assess your successes and strengths.

And then write down your goals and think about the people who can help you get there. How can you help them first? Be generous.

Share with others who can offer support, advice, and check in with you now and then to see how you are doing. I can be one of these people for you. Just send me a note. All the best to you this year as you go after your goals! The world will be a better place for it!

 

First Impressions and the Long Haul

Ever notice that in some friendships, when you really get to know someone, you tend to stop paying attention to or caring about those minor outward traits like what they are wearing or how they styled their hair? When you might have seen someone who was “sloppy” or “nerdy” or “loose,” or even “polished” or “trendy” or “classy” – all you now see and care about is that they are a real person to you, your friend.

In my own friendships, I try to get there are quickly as I can, to dig beneath the surface, asking good questions to really get to know them. And I try to discard all the properness or formality to visits or dinners, in order to diminish any friction that would keep us from just being able to get together at a moment’s notice.

It’s interesting that I have a similar attitude online. I know that people tend to show their “good side” online as much as they can – because they can, and because in many ways if they are in business, they should. But I also really try to get to know the person behind the brand, the story that explains the reasons why, the words that others share about the difference they’ve made. I appreciate sites that make it easy for me to do that.

And so in creating website systems for others, that’s how I try to steer people as well. Be real. Be clear. Make a great first impression. But know that you are in it for the long haul. Continue reading “First Impressions and the Long Haul”