Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Art of Thinking Big - Universe Fly-Through

I am in awe of the minds who came up with this wonderful concept:

Dream big for 2011.

Never Let Action Become Inertia

I'm as guilty of this as the next person - it's the Holiday Season, so I deserve a holiday. I take a few days off, so what happens to my business?

That really depends on whether you're an Apprentice, a Journeyman or a Master.

Apprentice - "It's only a few days, I'll start up again after the break." The danger here is that the break stretches into a few weeks, a few months, and before you know it, the Apprentice has left the business completely.

Journeyman - "It's only a few days, I'll contact my customers in the week beforehand, let them know I'll get back to them in a couple of weeks." Much better, the Journeyman has communicated the action plan to the customers, and now has a psychological imperative for when he needs to get back to work.

Master - "It's only a few days. My customers know exactly which day I'll be seeing them next, and my automated lead generation tools are prompting me with a steady trickle of interested prospects. I'll talk to those as their details arrive in my inbox".

None of these phases is completely set in stone; Masters can act like Journeymen sometimes, but so can Apprentices. The key factor, as always, is consistent action aimed at SMART goals.

If you're a team leader with a number of apprentices in your team, how do you deal with them? Do you let them forget their focus, or do you manage them until they've learnt how to manage themselves?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seasonal Flu - How to Win with Network Marketing

For the past 3 weeks, I've struggled to keep going. I admit it. No matter how buoyant a distributor's personality, there are times when you have to run as fast as you can just to stay still.

In my case, as with many others at this time of the year, my family got knobbled by the seasonal flu that's doing the rounds. So I spent 2 weeks trying to cope with a full time job, a 90 minute round-trip commute and my Kleeneze retail targets, as well as ensuring that my sons were being looked after to the best of my abilities. Building a team was not on my list of priorities. Surviving each day was.

Just as they started getting better (this year's flu seems to hit people with a week of the usual symptoms followed by two weeks of bronchial problems), I got the darned bug myself. For four days, I struggled in to the day job, dreading every minute of that 45 minute each way trip. On the first day, my youngest son got clipped by a car on his bike ride back from school. He was extremely lucky and got away with scrapes and bruises; he walked his bike home before the shock set in. I took a day's holiday to keep an eye on him; I'm not sure who ached the most. By day 5, I'd got to the point where I crawled out of bed, phoned in sick and crawled right back again. It's now day 9 and I still feel like death warmed up, but I'm back at work with the bronchial phase warming up for Christmas.

So what has this to do with winning in network marketing?

Simply this: both I and my youngest son followed the same basic principles - to only commit to what we knew we could deliver, to do what we said we'd do when we said we'd do it, and to revise our planned activity to suit the new circumstances.

I delivered ordered goods, put out far fewer catalogues than normal, but ensured I got my 10% bonus volume by week 3 of the period, as per my goals.

My youngest son, despite the flu and his injuries, turned up to do his paper round every morning, regardless of how ill he felt, because he knew the newsagent was short-staffed. I'm so very, very proud of him.

The great thing about a good network marketing company is that, if you are diligent and consistent, results happen when you least expect it. I currently have a dozen people to contact with more information about building their own Kleeneze business, many of whom came in directly via my Kleeneze website, all due to the effort I put in before the seasonal flu took hold. I'll be talking to them over the next few days, sending further information and discussing their joining my team. 2010 was good - 2011 is going to be even better.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When Life Gets In The Way - Live It!

You've read your favourite self-development books, listened to the CDs/MP3s/podcasts, watched the DVDs, subscribed to the best blogs. All of them say something similar:

Consistent effort breeds long-term success.

I have two book/CD sets on the go at the moment - Jeff Olson's Slight Edge and Darren Hardy's Compound Effect. Both excellent and, if you live in the UK and haven't got them, you should be ordering them from Knowledge is King. I tend to go for book and audio packages where possible as I find I learn more that way.

But what happens when Life happens? You know what I mean - the cat's sick, your child starts a new life elsewhere, you get divorced, a parent's health deteriorates dramatically, you move to another area. The issues that turn day-to-day life into Life!, the soap opera you didn't want to star in.

Simple. You revisit your plans and your tracking and you look at your life realistically. Then you revise those plans to take Life into account. If you can only manage to spend 30 minutes per day on your business, instead of 8 hours, then plan accordingly. Communicate your new plans with whoever needs to know and then stick to them. As always, always underestimate your committment and then do more than you've promised. Set a timescale to review your plans by a given date, depending on what Life has thrown at you, and give yourself permission to deal with the immediate necessities.

Don't forget, there are different ways of approaching bad news, as the following story proves:

A business woman was working away from home when her son phoned her.

"Mum, the cat's dead!"

After a brief moment of shock, the mum mode took over. "Darling, next time you have bad news like that, especially if you feel it might upset others the way you are upset right now, try to soften the blow by gently leading up to it. For instance, you could have started by saying something like - You know how the cat loves climbing the roof, well it's fallen off and it's badly hurt. We don't think it's going to survive. Then you could have called back a little later and told me that the cat was dead. OK?"

Her son agreed to try that the next time he had bad news to tell.

Two days later he phoned again, just as she was packing to come home.

"Mum, you know how Granny loves climbing the roof?"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Network Marketing - 3 Simple Steps to Help Beginners Succeed

I've just had my first article approved on Ezine Articles - 3 Simple Steps to Help Beginners Succeed. More will follow. I have a firm belief that business building should be based on simple, but solid, foundations. Why not have a read and let me know what you think?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Building an Ethical Network Marketing Business

Did the title get your attention? Good.

Firstly, let's get a few NOTs out of the way.

This is NOT a criticism of the network marketing industry as a whole, nor should it be seen as an opportunity to take pot-shots at individual companies.

What I am concerned with is the ethical perspective of some network marketing "experts". As an example, the advocation by some of lead generation activity that verges on spamming. The sort of advice that recommends creating 100 webmail accounts of the getinfo01 - 99 @ variety, so that you can bypass the submission terms and conditions of free advertising sites by simultaneously using all 100 email accounts to produce your leads. You can predict the resentment that this behaviour causes amongst both website admins and other users.

I know of one "expert" whose idea of lead generation is to effectively steamroller over the "opposition" by inundating an area with lead generation aimed at his website. He gets his accounts revoked on a regular basis, but he doesn't care because he's got his leads. His behaviour has a negative effect on both his downline, who can't emulate him, and the other poor network marketers whose adverts look similar to his and who can't work out why they've been booted off a particular site with their first and only advert.

What these "experts" fail to remember is the networking part of network marketing. Networking involves building relationships with others and that includes the moderators of the sites where you are promoting your own business. Spamming sites with cut-and-paste advertising clones is just one of the reasons why MLM is held in such low regard by others, to the point where you can't promote yourself as a network marketing representative on many free sites.

Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a couple of backup email addresses, in case you accidentally fall foul of the submission guidelines on a given site. Nor am I saying that you shouldn't place a variety of adverts on the same site, if the guidelines permit that. But you need to be clear in your mind as to what you are trying to achieve - is it long-term sustainability or short-term profit?

To be a leader in network marketing, you need a strong set of values as a foundation for how you do business with others. If you behave like a flim-flam artist, you will drive away honest hard-working distributors who have been told to duplicate their upline's systems, but cannot bring themselves to use your methods.

These aren't precepts, but they are common-sense guidelines for building an ethical business:
  1. Treat everybody you 'meet', whether online administrators, customers or potential representatives with respect.
  2. Keep in contact with everybody you 'meet'. You never know who may join your business - it may be the friend of the person you were nice to 2 years ago.
  3. Ask yourself, how do others view me/my behaviour/my business activities. Then ask your best friend for an honest appraisal. If you don't know how you come across, you can't improve.
  4. List 5 qualities that you want to make part of your personal brand. Mine are honesty, loyalty, hard-working, nurturing, coaching. Write them down and put them somewhere prominent. Remind yourself to be your brand every day.
  5. List 3 core values you intend to adhere to. Simple is better - think of the French motto, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" - both catchy and pithy. Add those to your brand statement.
  6. Commit to a kaizen mindset.
Nightingale Conant's UK website has a good mission statement generator. Why not try it out and see what your mission statement looks like when you slot in your core values and qualities?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude Journals and a 90 day plan

I stumbled across the 30 days of gratitude site today, whilst looking for a motivational quote. I'm very glad I did (no sarcasm intended).

It turns out there's been a lot of research done on the positive effects of gratitude on both physical and psychological wellbeing. Increased optimism and enthusiasm, better sleep quality and lower levels of depression or stress were all noted. Active gratefulness appears to help people achieve their goals as well.

To be actively grateful, you need to document that gratitude. There are a lot of lovely suggestions on various gratitude sites about investing in a special book, but, let's face it, not everybody has the time or money to nip down to Journals 'R Us for the superb £50 pressed flower covered notebook and scented pen. Not only that, but the emphasis on the tools detracts from the core message.

Don't bother with the leather-bound journal, the fountain pen and the dedicated timeslot. If you focus on that, your gratitude journal will last as long as that teenage "Dear Diary" Christmas gift - and be as unsullied.

Open up your office software, create a new document or spreadsheet and go for it. Follow these instructions on how to write powerful "gratitudes" and set yourself a target of 6 gratitudes per day. If you've got a smartphone/iPhone/Android, you could use that instead.

Finally, here's a suggestion. Why not keep a 90 day gratitude journal alongside your 90 day plan? By actively focussing on your psychological development, you can help support the development of your business at the same time. Not only that, you have a permanent record of the improvements in your life to refer to in the future. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tithing for Profit

I've just posted on The Kleeneze Lady about tithing for profit. It's worth repeating one of the points here:

When you're building your business, you should be tithing for profit.

Invest your retail profits in your business, invest your bonuses in your lifestyle. That way, you have two stories to tell, rather than one.

Hop over to the original post to understand how and why.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kleeneze, Small Businesses and Network Marketing in General

I've decided this blog is deviating slightly from its original purpose, which was to be a general commentary and advice blog on all forms of small business and network marketing, including low-cost franchises such as Kleeneze.

My more Kleeneze-specific posts will be put on The Kleeneze Lady - feel free to hop over for a visit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Love My Kleeneze Business!

I know I've said this before, but the day job is not what it could be. There is a fundamental lack of understanding about what some of our team is capable of - we are, after all, all multi-faceted individuals with our own interests, talents and motivations. To see that enthusiasm belittled, that passion for change warped into apathy, that expertise ignored - to me, that is the antithesis of proper management, let alone true leadership.

It just goes to show, all the Dale Carnegie Group leadership courses in the world can't change a person if they don't see the need to change...

So, today went much as expected. Managers held meetings and sidestepped the expertise within the team, yet again. I watched an entire team go through the motions, all giving no more than 50% of their effort to their day job, letting the minutes tick by, not bothering to learn new skills or polish old ones. After all, why bother when your managers "know" what you're capable of and won't let you out of your pigeon-hole?

Not me, though. I'm in early, out on time and working as effectively as possible during my day job hours. Why? Because it makes sense. I can catch up on EzeReach messages first thing, while nobody else is in. I can check emails, tweak online adverts and tune plans during my lunch break. If my workload is being completed on or ahead of schedule, nobody can complain if I take the odd 5 minute break to talk to a prospect, or network with others in the company.

Then, when I get home, I'm energised to do the nightly delivery and collection of catalogues; the delivery of orders and the processing of new orders. I'm fired up by the thought that my adverts are being looked at and generating enquiries, that the retail business is building momentum. I'm focussed on what's important.

Four months ago, I was stressed, hated the monotony of the day job and despaired of ever having savings, let alone a decent pension pot.

Now, after being a Kleeneze distributor for 3 and a half months, I have my own business, I'm saving money for the first time since I became a parent and potential team members are contacting me.

Life is great and I love my Kleeneze business! Know anybody who would be interested in earning an extra income? Send them my way, I promise to look after them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kleeneze Success - The Confidence Builder

I work at my Kleeneze business part-time, as do almost all new distributors. I fit it around a busy life which includes a 45 minute each-way commute and a full-time IT job in a corporate head office.

Anybody who has ever worked in a corporate head office department will have experienced that wonderful mix of office politics that flourishes in environments endowed with rigid rule-following, ever-tightening budgets and complacent staff waiting for their final-salary pension pots.

I hate office politics. Traditionally, I'm the sort of character that takes the kicking from people both clambering up and sliding down the greasy pole. I can't cope well with a passive, pessimistic reaction to office politics; it actually makes me physically ill, with psychosomatic symptoms ranging from mild hair loss to eczema and other allergic reactions. But, as anybody who has ever tried it will tell you, standing up for yourself against master office politicians will scar you even more permanently.

Prior to joining Kleeneze, I'd experienced enough office politics in both this company and my two previous jobs to convince me that I just wasn't cut out for a 9 - 5 corporate life. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the playground tactics around me and it wasn't going well.

Today, I got side-swiped, yet again, by masters of the craft. Normally, that would be enough for the allergic reactions to start showing up over the weekend. Not this time.

With the confidence built up over the past few weeks with Kleeneze, I took a different approach. I side-stepped the potential political quagmire, politely drawing a line at the edge of the quicksand, and walked away from the fray.

You know what? It feels wonderful. I'll be at home at 6pm tonight and my real job starts then - collecting catalogues, bagging up orders and filling in my tracking sheets. I already have enough orders collected in this week to know I've achieved my 10% bonus for the second period running.

The day job just gave me a reminder about why I'm doing Kleeneze and I'm so grateful to the political idiots in my department for doing so! Who says negatives can't inspire you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Little Successes Pave The Way

"If you have a plan, anything can happen" - Michael Khatkar.

Last night, I drove round my Kleeneze round, delivering orders.

Today, I looked at my Kleeneze account. Because I pay in ALL the money I receive for orders in the early weeks of each period, as I receive it, I'm now in the wonderful position where this week's orders are pure retail profit. My sales aids are the only things that I need to pay for; my account is in credit and this week's orders will be paid for when last week's retail is put into the Kleeneze account.

Now, this method of operation won't work for everybody. For people like me, paid monthly, where the month's pay tends to run out in the third week, it's wonderful to know that I have the ability to rely on my retail profit if and when I need it.

Best of all, it means I have the money available to focus on lead generation so that I can build my team.

I promised myself that I would use my retail profits to build my business. My Kleeneze bonuses will go towards building a better lifestyle. Today, I have the evidence that building my business is sustainable from my retail efforts and I'm delighted.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Building a Business One Day at a Time

Sometimes, life expands to fill every single moment. Parenting, work, relationships, traffic jams; they all conspire to reduce the time you have to focus on your own business.

Happens to me all the time. It happened again today.

Plans go out of the window, you drift off the subject of building your customer base or your team. What happens next is up to you.

Today I was proud of myself. Despite all the temptations to just put my feet up and take a well-earned break after 13 hours of parenting, commuting, paid employment and shopping for essentials, I got changed into Kleeneze polo shirt and jeans, put on the woolly hat and waterproof coat, and delivered catalogues for 90 minutes.

You can only lead by example. "Do what I say, not what I do" is not an option in an army of volunteers looking for generals.

When my team says to me, "I can't do this, I'm too tired." I can help them go that extra mile. Literally. As Lao Tzu says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Kleeneze distributors are proving that each and every day. Well done, all of you.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Reasons for Business Failure Part 2: Cashflow

We're all aware that the Credit Crunch drastically limited the sources of finance for small businesses. The media is full of stories about how SMEs (small/medium sized enterprises) are not getting access to loans to help their cashflow or to fund further growth. Accountancy organisations such as the UK's ICAEW give firm advice about small businesses having to provide good reasons for needing capital injections.

That's just one more reason why business owners need to be realistic about their survival costs before they start a business. All businesses need startup capital, to cover the initial outlay on property rental, vehicles, tools, overheads, stock, office equipment and stationery, fuel costs, etc. The new business owner also needs to ensure that their personal overheads, such as mortgage/rent/loans, household expenses, personal vehicle & fuel costs, are also covered.

Traditionally, business advisers suggest that most small businesses take up to three years before they are fully profitable. That's three years where, every time you take money out of the business for personal use, you delay the point where your business "breaks even" and moves towards profitability. The more net profit you can invest in your business in the early years, the earlier your business will break even.

If you need an income of £2000 ($3000 or 3000 euros) per month to survive on before you start your own business, ask yourself how you will fund that income in the first 3 years of running your own business. If you can't fund that income out of savings, where is the £72000 coming from? From redundancy payments? From family? From another income in the household?

Or would it be better for you to build your business part-time, in parallel with an existing job? Can you do that with your current skill set? If you can, how will you get customers? How will they pay you? Will you need to take time off your existing job to visit prospective customers, or can you sustain business growth outside of your existing workday?

All of these questions need answers before you build up your own business. It's part of making sure you're not a business failure statistic in 6 - 18 months time.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Reasons for Business Failure - Part 1: Planning

So, why do businesses fail? Why are a third of businesses gone in the first two years, and why do half not survive the first five years? What goes wrong between the initial enthusiasm and the final desperation? How can we stop that happening to us? How is this relevant to network marketing in general, and Kleeneze in particular?

Let's take the main reasons first:

Poor Planning

I don't know about you, but if I hear "Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail" one more time, I'll hit something. Anybody attending a network marketing training session will be told that, as though it's a failsafe mantra. Anybody who works at a relatively experienced level in any business or industrial sector will have heard a version of it.

Yes, some people fail to plan, but most people who are serious about building a business do plan. They are told to provide business plans to banks, or to plan their workload, so they sit down, try to work out what they want to happen over a given time frame and write it all down.

The trouble starts with what happens next.

Some create plans that look good on paper but which are wildly optimistic and are based on everything in life, including the global economy, being absolutely perfect. 

Failure to plan for adverse situations is planning to fail.

Some assume that, once the plan has been created, that's it. By some mystical universal force, everybody and everything will telepathically understand what's required and align with the plan, without further input from the creator. 

Failing to work according to your plan is planning to fail.

Some write the plan, allow for real life to intervene and work the plan but they don't amend the plan to allow them to grow their business. They are stuck in a mindset that tells them that as long as they do the minimum level required, they'll be fine.

Failure to review your plan and reset targets upwards is planning to fail.

I've planned to fail in the past based on those three criteria and it's painful. It's also OK. Planning to fail is a learning exercise that all new entrepreneurs will go through in one form or another and it should not be used as either an excuse for failure or a reason for others not to try the same path.

So you're overoptimistic at times? You haven't accepted how much work is involved in building your own business? You think you're heading for the stars when really you're coasting in neutral? 

Get over it, get a new plan written and commit to it. Work it; review it at weekly, 4 weekly and 13 weekly (90 days, remember) intervals; change it and improve it as necessary. Then get back to working the plan. Repeat until it's a part of you.

Because where your future's concerned, it's not an attitude, it's a way of life.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Get Rich Quick Mentality Sucks!

It came as no surprise to me to find that if you type the word Kleeneze into Google, the second suggested option in their drop-down list is Kleeneze scam.


Because, as my first business lecturer told us, a satisfied customer will tell a couple of people, a dissatisfied customer will tell a dozen. Upgrade that to the Internet version and it's closer to a satisfied customer will tell their social network, a dissastified customer will tell their social network and then go on to conduct flame wars on every forum and review site that dares to mention the product.

The amount of hatred and bile directed at Kleeneze, Avon etc. is truly disheartening; you'd think people were nicer than their internet personae indicate.

But note:

This bile isn't spewing from dissatisfied Kleeneze customers. The pyroclastic flow ready to engulf the wary new distributor erupts from ex-distributors, many of whom appear to have distinctly distorted views of how to run their own business. There are complaints about fees needing to be paid to use various services, shipping costs needing to be paid if orders are under a certain amount, admin charges being applied in some cases. All of which, it has to be said, are covered in the manuals you get in your starter pack as well as online on the distributor site. Do these people not read any small print?

Part of the reason for the "bitter ex-distributor syndrome" has to be due to poorly-trained apprentice distributors not winnowing out applicants who are either tyre-kickers, lazy or who really just want an employer prepared to pay them better than minimum wage for no real effort. Those applicants would not make it in their own business; heck, they couldn't cope with fixed-price leaflet delivery work either.

In my previous network marketing company, my sponsor was a lovely lady who should never have been recruited into the industry. She would spend a fortune to avoid going out and talking to others about her own business opportunity, and then complained when she wasn't getting value for money for the few leads that came her way. All she really wanted was a work-from-home job from a "real" employer, who paid her PAYE.

Kleeneze is a business first and foremost. A Kleeneze distributorship is also a business, first and foremost. Sure, it's an opportunity. But opportunities are not treasure troves waiting for the taking. First you mine the gold ore, then you refine it, then you wear it or sell it on. Treasure troves only exist in fairy tales.

Let's face reality. According to US statistics, 30% of small businesses fail in the first 2 years; by the 5th year only 50% have survived. According to UK reports at least 33% of startups fail within 2 years; one BBC report had it closer to 80% since the credit crunch hit.

The most common reasons for business failure include poor planning, lack of customers, poor market research, rising fixed costs (overheads, employee costs, fuel, etc.) and failure to obtain sufficient financing to grow the business.

The initial startup costs for a business should not be underestimated either. As well as whatever is required in the way of business setup costs (IT, tools, vehicles, office/workshop rental), a new startup owner needs to consider how they are going to cover their own basic costs (food, clothing, bills, personal expenditure etc.) until the business makes a profit. When I attended a business startup course, the advice was to pare down my personal outgoings to a bare minimum, and then calculate the costs for 3 years to see how much I needed in reserve before I started my own full-time enterprise. As a single parent with a mortgage and no other financial support, I needed a minimum of £60,000! Couples need to ensure that they can survive on one income for 3 years before both work in the business full-time.

Take a look at the available opportunities out there. Be sceptical, do your due diligence and do your own calculations regarding projected income and expenditure. Then make a decision. But don't whinge if you don't make that million in the first few years.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Apprenticeship and Leadership

I got a mention in my upline's newsletter today, congratulating me on reaching my first bonus level.

Thanks, Amanda!

I'm not resting on my laurels yet; I have more bonus levels to reach for personal retail, the top one being 24%. That may have to wait a bit, but it's still a goal.

My next goal is two active distributors by the end of 2010. With less than 2 months to go, I can either get panicked, or get moving. Guess which I've gone for?

So far this month, I've had 3 enquiries and I've shown the opportunity video provided by Kleeneze to all 3 people. No feedback so far. That's typical and I'm not fussed about the lack of uptake. Proverbs about "leading horses to water" are there for a reason, after all.

The problem many new entrants into network marketing have with building a team is not a lack of detail on what to do, it's a combination of information overload and lack of confidence. Dealing with that killer combo takes time and experience.

That's where being a leader comes in.

To lead properly, you need to learn how to serve first.

Traditionally, people were apprenticed for 4 to 7 years before they were deemed capable of working on their own. During that time, they were taught all the details of how to be a competent member of their work community. They weren't paid, but the master craftsman who taught them would house, feed and clothe them during their apprenticeship.

Once they had completed their apprenticeship, they were entitled to charge for a day's work; they were now called journeymen. Some journeymen travelled all over the country, learning new skills from other masters in the appropriate guild. Many were effectively full-time employees.

To be accepted as a master and thus have apprentices of their own, they had to produce a piece of work known as a masterpiece. If that was accepted by their guild, they could join and call themselves a master craftsman.

This is exactly what we go through as team leaders and team builders within network marketing.

The problem is, many newcomers expect to go from application form to mastery within weeks or months. They don't realise that they are apprentices, that they will need to spend time as an apprentice before they move on to the next stage and that their outgoings may well match the income from their new business for a year or two. They don't listen to advice, think they know better and re-invent wheels faster than you can count the cliches in this paragraph.

Worse, they apprentice themselves to people who are still apprentices or journeymen. You now have the classic downhill spiral - demoralised wannabe masters leave in a huff, claiming that their upline is rubbish and thus demoralising the upline team.

I was "lucky" with Kleeneze (in that "the harder I work, the luckier I get" way). I'm in Gavin Scott's downline. Gavin has been Distributor of the Year twice and his group has the highest turnover in Kleeneze. I've apprenticed myself to a master craftsman who has been doing this for 18 years.

I'm still an apprentice. Still learning my trade. The difference is, my trade is leadership. I will be successful, and I will be a master. This is not about attitude, positive or otherwise. It's about making changes to my whole way of life.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Consistency = Success

Well, I've proven something to myself - and I can't stop smiling because of it...

A bit of background - I spent several years working with another network marketing/direct selling company and although I moved a couple of steps up the payment plan, I never really achieved what I wanted. Part of that was due to my own inconsistency (life got in the way A LOT, including divorce, kids changing schools, teenage angst, parental ill-health, you name it). Not once did I achieve a bonus from the company for any of my efforts.

After 3 months with Kleeneze, including more upheaval, a holiday and a really bad bout of bronchial infection - all of which wiped out 4 weeks and 2 potential bonuses - I have received my first bonus payment and achieved my first retail goal 8 weeks ahead of schedule!

That's big.

I have a story I can tell others now.

In my first committed 4 week period since I started the business, where committed is defined as sticking to my revised target of 400 catalogues out every week, my retail income from Kleeneze, including my bonus is:

I am truly delighted about this!
Week 1 of Period 12 has just finished and I've already achieved 50% of the sales that got me the bonus payment in Period 11. Talk about an incentive to hit my next target ahead of schedule.
I now know that I can achieve regular Kleeneze bonuses and that I can teach others to do likewise. Time to build up that team.
Here's to a fun and prosperous month.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sometimes, Life Gets in the Way....

Three weeks into my 90 day plan, I spent a week's holiday in the Peak District. It was a great holiday, full of wonderful memories.

Within a day of my return to work, I'd caught the office lurgy - a nasty bronchial cold that left me as lethargic as an unfed three-toed sloth and as weak as a month-old kitten.

So, Kleeneze work ground to a halt, effectively. Not good.

Then, just as my health improved, I was hit with an emotional kidney punch that left me psychologically wounded.

I've spent the past week licking my wounds, grieving and taking a long look at how I perceive myself, how others perceive me and, most important of all, just why I'm doing network marketing.

I've been justifying the initial effort by focussing on the benefits for my children. Realistically, my children are of an age to manage their own lives to an increasing degree, which means that my original justification is no longer enough. After all, if my reason for working with Kleeneze was "to buy a new washing machine", what would be my new reason once I'd got the latest Indesit?

I am doing this to benefit myself and I needed to learn that self-focus does not equal selfish.

I've wasted 4 weeks due to holiday, illness and family crises. That won't happen again. This is a business and I need to treat it as such.

I have my focus, I have my goals and I have a renewed belief that I can achieve those goals.

Now I need to create the new 90 day plan, get back in the routine and get things done.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Day 3 - My First Sales

My first day collecting catalogues, as well as delivering them, and I made two sales! Not bad considering I overlapped with another distributor.
This is so simple a business compared to other Network Marketing/MLM opportunities out there. A little bit of effort and the rewards are there, commensurate with the activity.
Roll on my next day's collecting.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 2 - Getting My Feet (and everything else) Wet...

I spent another hour tonight bundling some catalogues together, then set off out with a catapuller full of Kleeneze packs, ready to take on the world.

And it rained. For the last 10 minutes of my first venture outside. For those minutes, the catalogues were a darn sight drier than I was.

I smiled, a lot. For somebody who enjoys walking, this job is so easy. I was even brave enough to smile at people in their gardens and announce "Your Kleeneze catalogue" in a loud and cheerful voice. Nobody rejected me, nobody complained. Mind you, one catalogue got shoved back onto the doorstep faster than it went through the letterbox, but I understood why when I saw another distributor's catalogues on a doorstep further down my route. That's bound to happen occasionally.

I'm looking forward to putting the rest of the catalogues out tomorrow.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Day 1 - Starting slowly

Today was a classic example of life getting in the way of planning.

I got home today to find I'd received 4 large boxes, all rather heavy. Catalogues weigh a lot, collectively. I cleared a space in the living room and got on with creating my catalogue packs.

Two and a half hours later, I'd done 100 packs, it was past 9 pm and I'd forgotten to eat anything...

I'd also listened to the DVD and CD in my official starter pack, so I was still fired up at the end of all that activity.

I still have another 100 catalogues to bag up, but I will deliver what I have tomorrow night.

In the mean time, all new Kleeneze distributors need the following AT THE START before they can be serious about their business:
  1.  Day slips - these tell the customer when you will collect the catalogues. They are not supplied by Kleeneze, you need to make your own or buy them from one of the printers supplying Kleeneze stationery.
  2. Recruitment advert slips - self explanatory, advertise to your customers that you are trying to build a team. These are not supplied by Kleeneze.
  3. A paper trimmer. A lot easier/safer to use than a craft knife for trimming your own day slips.
  4. LOTS of name and address labels with name, address, contact number and Kleeneze number. If you've got 200+ catalogues, the 650 that Kleeneze send you barely cover the 200 x 3 catalogues they send out at the same time. Again, try Able Label or one of the printers that supplies basic labels if you don't want to print your own.
  5. A laser printer - essential if you're going to print your own day slips. Don't bother with an inkjet - head for Argos or other similar shops and work out the cost savings over a year.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Day 0 - Preparing the Ground

Having committed myself to actually sticking to a 90 day plan, I decided to organise myself a bit more.

First step - put up the new lockable postbox, so that my mail is in one place. That'll cut down the frantic hunting around the house for the latest repository created by my offspring. I've found 3 week old "pay now or else" bills behind the TV before now...

Second step - tidy the office. Easier said than done, as it's seen as a dumping ground for things that my eldest son doesn't want. Filed a lot of paperwork by the simple expedient of shoving it into a cupboard and closing the door. I'm obviously not that organised yet.

Third step - rough out the 90 day plan.

Of course, the simplest solution would be to map out identical blocks of time on every week day. However, this is the real world and as a single parent with a full-time job, not to mention full-time parenting, identical blocks of time is not an option.

So, I have set targets for both retail and recruitment lead generation. I will be keeping a record of planned activity, actual activity and results and I'll update it here on a weekly basis for the next 13 weeks.

Weekly Targets:

200 catalogues out, 3 times a week.
500 recruitment invites, door to door. 200 of those are going out with the catalogues.
10 clubs/organisations contacted with the suggestion of fund-raising parties based on the Christmas catalogue.

I'm bursting with energy and really looking forward to my first day of action. Here's to eventual success.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

90 Day Plan Preparation

A 90 day plan has to be one of the simplest concepts in running your business. It's also one of the hardest to get right.

At first sight, there's no problem. You decide you want to run your own business. You start investigating options. You choose your preferred route to success. You attend some pre-business start up training, followed by some business training. And that's when the trouble starts.

As part of that business training, you get told that there are several key factors to your future success:

  1. You need to be passionate. That's OK, I wouldn't be investing time and money in seed money and training if I wasn't passionate, you say.
  2. You need to be organised. Not a problem, you assure yourself. It won't take long to tidy up a corner of the dining room/bedroom/attic. I've got my stapler, I've got my binders, I have a phone - how difficult can this be?
  3. You need to have a plan. I've got a plan, you say, smiling to yourself. I'm going to do this business brilliantly, I'm going to make loads of money and I'm going to be a great success.

At that point, you've just joined Walter Mitty in WonderfulMe Land and killed off any chance of succeeding.

Let's face it, if achieving financial freedom was that easy, there would be no poverty in this world.

Success = commitment + focus + persistent action

You need all three parts to build a solid foundation. Focus gets you zeroed in on your target. Commitment binds you to a course of action that will enable you to achieve your goals. But without the persistent action, there will be no long-term achievement.

So, you need that plan, it needs to be simple, and you need to stick with it.

All too often, we come away from training meetings with our ears ringing with MLM mantra. The one I personally feel does the most damage is this classic:

Massive Action = Massive Results

Poorly applied (because nobody's thought to tell the poor noob how to do so), that mantra is responsible for more failed businesses than I care to think.

Let's break it down, shall we? Action = Results. We all know that. But who defines "Massive"? You? Your upline? Your family?

So the new distributor/representative/sacrificial lamb listens to the various speakers at the training meeting and decides they need to:
  1. Buy into the business at the highest level possible, regardless of personal cost.
  2. Buy huge amounts of lead generation material OR spend a fortune on leads.
  3. Scattergun leaflets around the neighbourhood, spam their friends and family and fill up the garage with unsold products.

This leap into action usually means that on day 1, they do whatever they've been advised to do - say, deliver 500 leaflets, phone 10 relatives/friends, place 5 adverts in various papers.

By day 7, they're down to putting out 200 leaflets per night, there's no relatives left who'll answer the phone and the 5 adverts were obviously a waste of time because nobody called.

By day 14, they're not putting out leaflets any more, their friends are avoiding them at social events and they are scared they'll never shift that stock.

By day 28, it's meeting time again and they get encouraged to stick at it for another 4 weeks.

I know of people who've spent more than £15,000 trying to build their business like this. They all gave up, or the money gave out. Either way, it means the dream died.

So why on earth am I giving this whole Network Marketing concept another go? I must be mad, right?  


Just because there's a wrong way of following instructions, doesn't mean that those instructions don't have meaning and value. Just because some uplines seem more concerned with their own profits than helping you build a solid foundation for your business, does not mean all sponsors are corrupt, money-grabbing villains.

Each of us bears responsibility for our own actions. That includes the responsibility for performing a sanity check on what you've just planned for your business, buoyed as you are by the adrenalin rush of attending a really good business training. Your upline is not responsible for your business. You are.

Network Marketing is a People Business. As such, you are an ambassador for both your retail business and your team building. If you waste huge amounts of money on poorly targeted lead generation, don't follow up, don't build rapport with your customers by regularly calling/delivering catalogues/providing product - then that is what your team will copy, regardless of how many passionate members of their upline try to coach them differently.

To succeed in this sort of business, we all need to listen, learn, apply. We need to set SMART goals, not dreams. We need to plan and then stick to that plan. And we need to have an underlying mission statement for our business growth.

My business growth mantra is:

To build a Kleeneze team that is completely self-financing from retail sales.

In other words, after my initial investment of £171 for 200 catalogues, my distributor kit and a large Kleeneze-badged catapuller, all business growth will be funded by my retail profits.

Any lead-generation activity will be financed on that basis. I will start off with low-cost or no-cost promotions and move forward from there. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What does "It's not an attitude mean"?

It's simple. Really.

The dictionary definition of "attitude" goes something like this (with thanks to

at·ti·tude - noun

1. manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, esp. of the mind: a negative attitude; group attitudes.
2. position or posture of the body appropriate to or expressive of an action, emotion, etc.: a threatening attitude; a relaxed attitude.
3. Aeronautics . the inclination of the three principal axes of an aircraft relative to the wind, to the ground, etc.
4. Ballet . a pose in which the dancer stands on one leg, the other bent behind.

So - it's basically the way you position yourself mentally or physically relative to something else.

A couple of years ago, it was seen as such a term of disrespect that I couldn't order a T-shirt online with the word "attitude" on it as it hit the site's profanity filter!

And that's the crux of the matter (how many cliches can I throw in here, I ask myself....)

Attitude does NOT equal reality. Attitude does not equal instant respect. Attitude is a pose, a pretence, a cloak. Attitude alone will not allow you to achieve your goals in life.

Action, focus and commitment will.

I have tried and failed in the past with a Network Marketing company. I've never grouched, never grumbled about lack of support from my upline, my downline or my customers. I have always been my hardest critic; always tried to learn from my mistakes (and there have been PLENTY of those).

I have never once thought that Network Marketing was flawed as a concept. I have, however, come to realise that you have to pick the right opportunity and then commit to it.

There is a saying, variously ascribed to the Buddha Sakyamuni, Wiccan teachings or Judaeo-Christian beliefs: "If the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear".

 There is more than a little truth in that.

Driven by stresses at work, I decided that I could no longer define myself by a 9-5 career path. I looked at taking my skills and creating my own business based on those skills. I defined a set of products and services that I could sell to other companies, I defined my potential regional area to sell those to. And then reality stepped in.

Without a team of similarly motivated people, I had little chance of success, unless I gave up my current job and stepped out into the unknown. That in itself didn't scare me, but not being able - as a single parent of teenagers - to pay the mortgage, did.

I needed an alternative solution. After a fair amount of research, I chose Kleeneze as the best option. I did what any potential company director would do at that point and did due diligence work. I discovered Gavin Scott and contacted him. I'm now in his downline.

Today's post proved why I was right to do so. He sent me a book, without prompting. Not just any book; Don Failla's 45 Second Presentation. Oddly enough, I had been planning on ordering it from Amazon this weekend. He didn't know that.

With that single action, I received more understanding and support from Gavin than from anybody else I've come across in my previous Network Marketing endeavours.

I can't wait to meet him to say thank you in person. Luckily, the Xmas Showcase is in September, so not too long to wait.

It's not an attitude with Gavin. It really is his way of life. That resonates with me.

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It's not an Attitude...

Imagine the setting - a circle of uncomfortable people on uncomfortable chairs, a small community hall, a nondescript town. Then one stands up and utters the dreaded words:

"Good evening, my name is Anna and I'm in Network Marketing.... "

Yes, it's a MLMA meeting - Multilevel Marketers Anonymous. If they don't exist, they should. Some enterprising soul is probably setting up the first one as I type. After all, there are millions of websites out there that amount to a virtual MLMA meeting. "I lost a fortune." "They're all scams." "I didn't have the support I needed." "My upline ripped me off." "Leaflets/surveys/catalogues/online lists don't work."

And we all visit them, and empathise with their pain.

Then we go back to the daily grind and read our subscriptions to MLM newsletters, all of which promise us the opportunity to REALLY SUCCEED, so long as we cough up the cash (usually several hundred dollars) for the latest eBook, CD training, etc. Which we wouldn't use properly, even if we bought them.

What we all forget, at some time or other, is that excuses are easier than action. The longer we put something off, the scarier it gets. We forget, because we are the centre of our own world, that we are rarely more than a very minor part of somebody else's life. Nobody is out there waiting to condemn us - most of them fear our reaction to them. Nobody starts their day off by being determined to ruin somebody else's; it may happen, but it's very rarely as deliberate as we think.

For the world to change, we have to change ourselves first. We can't change others, but we can lead by example. We can follow the example of other leaders, but we have to take action to do so.

Action = Commitment + Focus

Consistent Action = Eventual Success

Try it for 90 days. I intend to.

It's not an attitude - it's a way of life.

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