Ten Tips For Success In Direct Selling

Direct selling businesses are a great way for mums to earn some extra cash whilst still being a full-time parent. Mumpreneur Robin Bradley set up her own direct selling company, Phoenix Trading, 15 years ago and shares her top tips for being successful in a direct selling business.

  1. Always be prepared – You never know when you’ll meet your next potential customer, so have a bag with you that’s big enough to carry a few brochures and products, just in case a selling opportunity arises.
  2. Set yourself realistic goals – Set short-term and long-term objectives for yourself that you can realistically achieve. Write these down on paper so you can remind yourself what you’re aiming towards.
  3. Keep it simple – Don’t over complicate things, too much information or a huge choice of products can confuse people.
  4. Network – Contact people that you think are suited to your market. By using people you already know to start with, you’ll feel much more comfortable selling to them. You can decide on the best way to contact people, a phone call, posting a brochure or dropping in to give some samples and products to encourage impulse buying.
  5. Follow up – Keep good relationships with your contacts by following up with them. For example, call your customers to check they received their order and use this as an opportunity to discuss new products coming out.
  6. Promote yourself – Take advantage of the events and fairs happening in your area and book yourself a stall. Any type of event would be a great opportunity to promote your business and a mix of events would reach different types of customers.
  7. Manage your time – Diary planning is key to running a successful business!
  8. Have regular contact with the business and your colleagues – Keep your knowledge updated by attending company and team meetings. Share ideas and best practices with your colleagues to keep your business fresh.
  9. Step out of your comfort zone from time to time – Try something new, something you ordinarily wouldn’t do. You could build a Twitter feed or set up a group for your customers on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or specialist sites like MumsLikeYou, to keep people up-to-date on your business. Try speaking to school mums you wouldn’t necessarily speak to. Doing this will help build your confidence and build your network.
  10. Have a positive mental attitude – It’s the people behind a business that make it successful and create a positive image. People will be more likely to be interested in your business if you come across as enthusiastic and passionate about what you’re selling.

Top Tips for Managing Your Time as a Mumpreneur

Today, Laura Morris of Rentabuggy gives us her top five time management tips for mumpreneurs. Rentabuggy is a pushchair rental service that you can use if you’re on holiday or just want to try out a buggy for a couple of weeks before you buy. You can find out more about how Laura started Rentabuggy here at Business Plus Baby this Friday 30th July.

When I started my business I was married and even though running a business was tough at least I had two pairs of hands to ease the workload. Now a single mum to my daughter Ashleigh, who will be shortly 4 years old and also now running not only my own business www.rentabuggy.co.uk but co-running another one, has definitely been an insight into a whole new world that has taken a lot of adjustment.

My work day life now revolves around meal times, school runs, piles of washing and various other duties, not including my ever growing workload. Trying to maintain a routine has been tough and if you are a mother yourself as you will know sometimes illness and a variety of other stuff seems to pop up in the middle of an important meeting or deadline! Here are my top tips on managing your time.

  1. I work in blocks of 30 minutes. I have found that if I have sat at the computer all day I seem to not get as much done. Seems silly when put in such context but if you try the ‘30 block trick’ it works a treat as you get a break and your mind has time to be restored and focus. I.e. Breakfast 30 minutes, Phone calls 30 minutes, School Run 30 minutes etc
  2. Every morning when you wake up write a to-do list. Many people keep there to-do list within their head but it is important to write it down. The biggest reason for this is that when you cross items off it you can see the progress you have made and this gives you more motivation.
  3. For a long time I had a massive guilt that as I was not only trying to be a role model for my daughter and earn an income I was also not spending enough time with her. In reality I was but it is a massive guilt every mother seems to carry. My daughter is now old enough to love the fact of helping around the house and by doing this together she knows she is helping mummy but we also get to chat about our day’s and share some time doing stuff together even if trivial.
  4. It is very easy when running a business from home to basically get sucked in and to work all night every night. In all honesty, I am quite a sucker for this but I recently decided that to actually be more effective I needed to switch off some evenings. Again, for the first few nights I sat there racked with guilt (especially after a big bar of Galaxy!) but the next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and more focused. We all need to switch off. Even if you had your own office somewhere, you would have to come home at some point!
  5. I recently was at an event where there was an Inspirational Speaker that I really connected with. She was telling the story that every morning before she switches on the computer she goes for a run. She say’s when she comes back she feels refreshed. She says she sees the time as working as it sets her up for the day. Unfortunately, I don’t get time to run every day but this is something I do 2-3 times a week. It really helps me de-stress. So remember who you are and still keep passion in any hobbies you may have!

‘Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent’

The Mumpreneur Conference

I’m very excited that I’m getting a day off my baby-wrangling duties to go to the Mumpreneur Conference!  Maybe I’ll see you there?

The conference is on 18th September at The Heart of England Conference Centre near Coventry. I’ll hand over to Laura Rigney, one of the faces behind the conference and owner of Pitcher House.

The Mumpreneur Conference & Awards is an event that aims to recognise the achievements of the UK’s mumpreneurs and inspire more women into business. The day has been organised as a way for this unique community of mums to come together and celebrate the fantastic work and achievements of one another, no matter how big or small. The conference will support and celebrate mums who juggle family life with starting up or running a business, providing opportunities for the attendees to move forward in growing their business in a way that will fit around their family commitments.

What makes The Mumpreneur Conference different from other business conferences and events, is that this is organised by mother for mothers, ensuring their needs are met, with a suitable day and location to allow mums from around the country to attend, and with the days itinerary created to ensure the attendees get the best out of the day on both a personal and professional level.

We’ll be offering six seminars tailored specifically to the needs of mums juggling family life with running a business, and indeed run by Mumpreneurs. Attendees will be able to attend three of these seminars. The workshops are as follows:

– You Don’t Have To Be Superwoman to Achieve Your Goals

– Tax Tips and Accounting Accuracy for Mumpreneurs

– Simple Social Media Marketing

– Ten Things Every Business Owner should know about the Law

– Creating a Successful Website

– Sales: The 10 Commandments

We’re delighted to be joined by three guest speakers on the day. Millionaire Mumpreneur, Emma Wimhurst, will be talking to us about her journey as a Mumpreneur. Carmen MacDougall will be talking to the attendees with the aim of motivating us, and aiding us in building our confdence, with “The secrets to boosting your inner confidence and how to attract new business opportunities”. Our award ceremony will be opened with a short talk from Lisa Warner of Fink Cards, who’ll be talking to us about her experience of entering awards, and her experience of judging The Mumpreneur Awards.

This fantastic initiative is in its second year, and with tickets at just £20, you’d be mad to miss it. The ticket price includes all of the above, as well as lunch and a complimentary invitation to a charity event in the evening, the official launch for the Mums Mission calendar. To buy a ticket, submit a nomination or find out more information about the event visit www.themumpreneurconference.co.uk.

P.S. I’ll tell you more about the awards tomorrow.

No Time To Study Business? Try Audio…

Soon after my second baby was born I was totally shattered, but found my poor tired brain still needed some stimulation. Plus I was determined to be a mumpreneur and I knew that taking time off from planning my business would mean I’d need to build up my momentum again.

I would have loved to take a course, but I didn’t have the time and I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate anyway. So I hit upon the idea of listening to podcasts and audio files. This worked brilliantly.  If had to spend hours feeding or rocking my baby to sleep, I put something interesting on my MP3 player and that passed the time nicely. Sometimes I was so tired that I fell asleep after five minutes, so it took me six attempts to get through a half-hour podcast!

If you haven’t tried learning from audio, give it a go. I find it fits really well around small children – you can listen when you’re forced to be awake at silly times of the night, when you’re in the car or loading the washing machine.

Here are my recommendations, why not leave me a comment and tell me yours?

  • Susan Odev’s Mum Ultrapreneur radio show on blog talk radio is fantasic source of information and inspiration (and I’m not just saying that because she keeps mentioning me, honest!)
  • If you’re interested in making an income from blogging, try Yaro Starak’s Entrepreneur’s Journey. The Blog Profits Blueprint is what got me started in blogging, but he also publishes podcasts of interviews with people who are earning a living from blogging.
  • Also on Blog Talk Radio, check out Mel McGee’s Supermummy radio show.
  • If you’re looking for a broader view of the world of business, listen to BBC Radio’s Business programmes – The Bottom Line with Evan Davis, and Peter Day’s World of Business . I find them useful for understanding how big business works and for picking up on new trends.
  • I’ve just discovered SmallBizPod small business podcasts. I have a selection of these podcasts ready to go on my MP3 player as soon as I have the time!

Got any more? Leave me a comment and tell me about them…

Creative Commons License photo credit: jekert gwapo

Choosing a Party Plan or Direct Selling Company

Direct selling or party plans can be a great way to start off in business.  It’s quick and cheap to get started and you should have much more support than you would get if you were starting up on your own.

(I said should rather than will because you need to check out the support you’ll get from the company and your team leader before you sign up. I’ve written more about this in business ideas for mums: party plans and direct selling.)

It’s tempting to go with a well-known name such as Avon, Kleeneze or Usborne, but there are lots more direct selling companies out there. It’s well worth doing some research before you take the plunge, because you really do need to love the product to succeed.

So what you really need is a list of direct selling and party plan companies? Well here you go…

Netmums.com : direct selling opportunities

Family Friendly Working: Franchise, direct selling and party plan directory

Direct Selling Association members