Saturday, May 14, 2011

Educating Family and Friends

For many people I know in direct sales, their families ask them "are you still doing that ______  thing?"  Fill in the blank with jewelry, bags, food, kitchen gadgets or whatever business it may be.  How odd that some of us who have been in business for many years still have family who don't understand that working for yourself and owning a business is a real job and one that can singlehandedly support a family!  These "little businesses" we run can make a lot of money and be very successful.  It is time we educate.  Our family and friends need to know about what we do and they can be our first line of referrals!

Be sure that you are telling everyone about your business, especially your friends and family.  Take out your cell phone and go down through your list of contacts.  Does each person know about your business and what you have to offer?  Have they supported your business in some way up to this point?  Share information with family and friends at social gatherings when they ask what you are doing or how business is.  Invite them to find out more and use them as referral centers.   You could invite them over for a mini open house to share details about your business.  Once they have the full picture, they will be good referral centers for you and will know how best to support you.  A mini meeting may also help remove any lingering cynicism that some have for the direct sales industry.  When people who love you know what you do, they will generally tell others.  After all, the first thing we usually ask people we haven't seen in a while is questions about their family.

Even if you are an entrepreneur developing your own independent business outside of direct sales you may have come across naysayers.  Sometimes people worry on our behalf about negative statistics or experiences they may have heard.  They may initially try to talk you out of starting a business citing their fears.  You can tell them that your decision is something you considered well and that their support and encouragement would mean a lot.  Work hard and share the results so they see that you can do it!

Your immediate family can be a critical part of your business' success.  Having a supportive spouse is very important.  Schedules, children, and financial responsibilities will be affected.  Women with husbands not on board with their business generally fail to last long.  Educate with your experiences and statistics.  Involve your family in activities surrounding your business to help them appreciate what you are doing.  Show how your business is positively affecting the family, in particular, the finances.

Lastly, when you run into someone you know and they ask you how things are going, don't just say "good".  Say something positive about your business that would lead them to ask additional questions.  Spreading the word starts with you!

-Melissa

Other posts you may like:
Including Children In Our Business
Stats to Impress
2009 Statistics

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