You sign up with a new company and you’re completely pumped. Your upline is showing all kinds of interest in you. You have a ton of ideas on how you’re going to make it to the top of the ladder. You’re literally oozing inspiration and motivation. Seriously, you rival the Hulk right now. You take notes at all the meetings, you’re putting in the work and doing everything that your upline is telling you to do. You might even be working closely with the area manager.
A month into the business, you’re scratching your head. You’re tired because in addition to working your job, you’re putting in several hours at night updating your Facebook account, putting together orders and preparing your NEXT big idea to get more customers and business partners.
You’re concerned about your family, because if their eyes roll back any further they’re going to pop out; they’re just tired of seeing you run yourself ragged and not having time for them anymore. Your friends are dodging your phone calls because they can’t figure out a nice way of telling you that they don’t care how helpful it will be, they just aren’t interested in hosting a party with you. Hell, they’ve all probably started hiding your posts on Facebook too.
You come to a hard decision. This home based business thing isn’t for you. Maybe it’s the company, or the products or your upline. Who cares what the issue is, you’ve been duped into this “dream world” that’s never going to work. Then you quit.
Sarah is a friend of mine (not her real name). She’s got a couple of kids at home and like many moms, she really wanted to find a way to contribute to the family financially, get out of the house for a few hours and more importantly she didn’t want to go back to work after her maternity leave was done.
One day she said to me, “Dawn, I really need your help. I have this home business that I really need to make work and I think I need a website.”
I was thrilled because I had been after her to do this for quite some time, so I offered to spend some time figuring out her business model and told her I’d put together a website. The only thing she had to worry about was picking a domain name and web hosting.
That was 3 or 4 years ago and the website never happened because she didn’t want to pay $50 a year for a web host. Instead, she put together a Facebook Page where she posted almost daily about her new venture and the products she had for sale. Over the years, I’ve received a few emails from her asking what she could do because the page isn’t getting any traction. She’s been through 3 different home based businesses that I can remember and all of them fell flat as a pancake.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM
The #1 mistake that I see home business owners doing all the time is costing them a shit ton of time and it’s leaving thousands (if not more) of dollars on the table. Let’s get one thing clear. The problem is you.
So let’s get to fixing that, shall we?
Here’s my 10 commandments of home business ownership (click here if you want to download this manifesto)
1. Thou shalt not promote the company that you’re working with.
2. Thou shalt not promote the products that you sell every single day.
3. Thou shalt not beg everyone on your hundreds list to host a party, attend a meeting or purchase a product.
4. Thou shalt not knock on the doors of unsuspecting strangers.
5. Thou shalt not use the company name, logo or images on your website or social media platforms
6. Thou shalt not work harder for the company than you do for yourself.
7. Thou shalt not put all your eggs in one basket
8. Thou shalt not ask everyone who comments to “private message me” to create curiosity.
9. Thou shalt not be afraid of technology
10. Thou shalt not use old school MLM marketing in a new age world.
I know, it’s scary and completely counter intuitive, but hear me out. What if …
You wake up one day and decide that this company or product isn’t for you anymore?
This happened to me when I sold Avon. I did well with the company but when my son was born, my priorities shifted big time. I didn’t like their skincare and cosmetic line anymore because I wanted more natural products. As my son grew, it was hard to bring him with me for meetings, rallys and events.
Imagine what would happen to your lifestyle if you were making enough money to pay all your bills and then something changes. Do you really want to go from “living the dream” to living in the gutter?
You wake up one day and the company has shut you down for something you did?
Have you actually READ the entire representative agreement that you signed? There’s a list of things you can and can’t do inside your business. Some companies forbid having anything other than a personal Facebook profile. Some say no way to websites. Some limit what you can say about the product. The company has to protect their asset and they have hundreds of thousands of representatives making them money. They won’t blink an eye at shutting you down if you do anything that could potentially damage their name or brand.
You wake up one day and the company has shut their doors.
This happened to a friend of mine just recently. She was promoting a company with a good product. She was making some cash. Then she got an email saying, sorry folks – we’re closing. Now what do you do? You’ve been promoting this thing for months and maybe years. Now it’s gone and so is your cash flow. Even if they don’t shut their doors, companies have been known to change their arrangements with representatives .. you might still be selling for them, but you could be making less, or you might not be able to do things in the same way which completely throws off your business model.
You wake up one day and just want MORE.
It happens. Our thoughts, perceptions, wants and needs change. It happens all the time and just because you don’t want to think it’ll ever happen to you, it could. We’re born to evolve sister. If your priorities shift, and it no longer aligns with the company, the product or the way you were doing business, what do you do now that you have an entire business that you’ve spent all your time and energy and money promoting one product, one business.
Don’t know what you’d do? You’re not alone. So let me tell you what you should be doing NOW to protect yourself from any of those things above plus a whole slew more (hello death, sickness, divorce, burn out).
Before I go any further, and before you make some weird facial movements and you wander away thinking I’ve lost my marbles, anyone can do this. Anyone. Even you.
Does this mean that you stop promoting your product? NO.
Does this mean that you stop promoting your company and trying to get a solid down-line? NO.
Does this mean that you are going to lose money because you’re going to do something different? HELLS NO.
What it will do is protect everything you’re working for by creating a business that YOU are in control of. No one can tell Brand X that they can’t do Facebook ads, or have a website that promotes more than one thing or that they can’t sell something on their website.
And when any of the myriad of things eventually happen to you, you aren’t going to circle the drain. Your family isn’t going to lose a huge chunk of income. And you won’t be drowning your sorrows at the local bar.
STEP #1: UNDERSTANDING PERSONAL BRANDING
Branding is all about curating the way you want people to perceive you. You’ll hear people say “a brand is what people say about your company when you’re not around”. The whole goal of creating your own personal brand is to quickly tap into the things that any good business wants and needs: likability, trust, awareness.
What you need to really understand here is that it’s going to give you a way to avoid all those problems I mention above and it will ensure you absolutely stand out from every other representative in your company. That’s a good thing (go on, give me a head nod – work with me!)
At the end of the day, it has to be about YOU and not your company. Not convinced? Think about these 2 scenarios:
i) You’re a Pampered Chef representative who’s branding is “Pampered Pam”. 10 years later, you want to shift to essential oils but your 5,000 Facebook fans all know you as Pampered Pam. In fact, that branding is on everything – your website, your business cards, everything. So how do you pivot from kitchen products to essential oils without losing momentum? You don’t. That’s how.
ii) You’re a massage therapist that goes by the name of “Massaging Hands” and your doctor tells you that after 15 years of deep tissue massages, you’re body is toast. Time to move on. So you decide that you’re going to become a Beach Body coach. Awkward brand name now, huh?
↠ ACTION ITEM: Make sure that your website and social media platforms are all in your own name. If your name is hard to spell, or you’ve used it on your personal profile, then do something like “FirstLastBiz” or “TheRealFirst” or “FollowFirst”. Do NOT pigeon hole yourself into one company or industry.
STEP #2: PREPARING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Before you go building a website and starting your Facebook page from scratch, spend some time thinking about what you bring to the table. Your company has the earning opportunity and the products, but what can YOU bring? I’m not going to sugar coat this – you need to have some kind of knowledge about the industry you’re in and if you don’t you need to have the passion and determination to learn more.
Here’s an example: you’re a Beach Body coach which fits into the health and wellness industry. Do you have (or can you learn) expertise in anything related to that field? Do you have a background in nutrition? Have you lost weight yourself? Do you have some solid experience with weight lifting? Are you a natural-product creator?
↠ ACTION ITEM: List the industry that your business fits into, then list every tiny little thing that you have experience in with that industry. If you don’t have the background, list the things you’re passionate about and figure out a way to gain some expertise. (I have a great PDF on testing your niche that will be helpful here.)
STEP #3: FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE
Your audience is not everyone that you’ve ever met in your life. Nor is it anyone that walks within 2 feet of you. Nor is it anyone who opens their door in a particular neighbourhood you’re canvassing. The people who do buy your products or are interested in becoming a business partner generally have similarities.
You can read more about Target Marketing here, but for now, just understand that when you focus on a particular set of people, it’s easier to talk to them in the right way and sell to them.
Newsflash – that audience is interested in more things than just your product. If you sell cosmetics to women in their 30’s, what other things do they like? If they have young families maybe they’re interested in organizational hacks. They’re probably interested in financial information. They’re probably interested in quick meals for a family of 4 for under $10.
When you know WHO your audience is, you can determine what things they’ll be interested. That’s going to be super useful when you start creating Facebook Ads or you’re wondering what you could post on your social media platform that isn’t your latest and greatest product.
↠ ACTION ITEM: Spend 30 minutes and think of the last person that bought anything from you. List out everything that you know that they like or that you think someone similar to them would like.
STEP #4: CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND HOME ZONE
You saw my story about Sarah where she didn’t want to spend money on a web host. If you’re truly going to build a business, you need some basics. Honestly, if you go into this thinking, “I don’t have $100 a year to spend on my business” then you’re not in business. You have a nice little hobby. Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper about how you can write off your business expenses.
i) website (you’ll need a domain name – remember to use your name, a theme and a web host)
ii) social media platform (don’t try to do too much, pick ONE)
iii) email platform (this one is super cheap, highly scalable and I use it in my own business)
When you have a Home Zone, you’re building authority and putting yourself on the map. What’s the first thing you think of when you try to look up a business online and can’t find a Facebook page or a website? “Does this place still even exist?” If you have a website, if you’re putting out useful content, you’re seen as someone who knows stuff. That’s a good thing.
Your job is to provide entertainment and education. It doesn’t have to be clown school and Harvard, but you do need to provide these 2 things to people. Show them that you know your stuff, teach them something they didn’t know before, let them have that win and you’ve got a customer for life.
Entertainment can come in the form of sharing stories. This is where you work on becoming likable. Sneak peeks into someone’s life gives the reader a feeling that they know you more (and we know what happens then).
When you have your own business and brand to promote, you’re literally side-stepping all the rules that every other home based entrepreneur has to follow. Go back and read that representative agreement that you signed. Go look at the rules for Facebook profiles (no, you can’t be pimping out like a business) and pages and advertisements (you can’t advertise MLM products or opportunities).
Don’t know about you, but I don’t like to have all my eggs in one basket waiting life to come along and squash them.
↠ ACTION ITEM: Get the 3 business assets that I mention above. If you need recommendations, you can download my free resource list here.
STEP #5: BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Part 1: Build Your Platform
If you’re just starting out with a website, don’t get caught up in perfection. You want something that works and looks decent. You can deal with more intricacies later on. I’d rather see a black and white website that looks clean than something that stands out like a sore thumb.
i) Set up your email service provider. Active Campaign is what I recommend to everyone because it’s accessible and easy to use and unlike many free options, it’s going to grow with you as an online marketer. Your goal here is to set up one list and one form. People opt in through the form, land on the list and you’re going to email them. Easy peasy.
ii) Create a lead magnet. If this is new to you, it’s a free thing you’ll give to someone in exchange for their information. Remember these 3 things when you create it: it has to be a quick win for the reader, it has to solve a problem that they’re actually having, and it has to look good. (Need help, download this free PDF on creating lead magnets)
iii) Set up your website. If this is all brand new to you, when you install WordPress go with one of the free themes that is given to you. If you’re a little more technically capable, you could build something pretty amazing using a framework type theme like X Theme. There’s 3 pages I want you to worry about right now. The home page, the about page and the opt in page.
When you’re building the opt in page, it’s all about what’s in it for your reader and enticing them to leave their name and email in exchange for your opt in. The about page is less about you and more about why the reader should listen to you. What’s in it for them and how can you help them? The home page is the most important because it has to let people know exactly what you do and how you can help them do it. (Grab my resource recommendations here)
iv) Set up your social media platforms. Remember, unless you have heavy activity on a particular platform, stick to just ONE for right now (ideally Facebook). Use the tips I’ve given you in this article to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.
v) Plan your content. Whether it’s your blog posts or graphics for Facebook, you need to have a plan. Use the advice I’ve given about finding your audience to create some great share-worthy content that your readers will actually want to see.
WANT ALL THE RESOURCES I’VE MENTIONED HERE? CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW!
You have the basic steps in your hot little hands now.
You may not be ready for this next part, but it’s pretty cool.
Ready to dig even deeper?