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Strategies for success in direct sales, from an Executive Flamingo Paperie Partner

strategies for success

So you’re looking for a new way to earn some money. Direct Sales seems a good option with its flexible working hours and it looks like it has some good prospects. But you haven’t quite worked out how to fit it in to the nooks and crannies of life. I’ve been in direct selling for over 12 years now and promoted to Executive Partner with Flamingo Paperie in the first month it launched. I have 4 children aged from 2 to 12 and as you can imagine that keeps me very busy. The flexibility of direct selling works really well for me and my strategies for success in direct sales are really different ways you can make your chosen company work for you.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

My strategies for success are based on my experience with Flamingo Paperie, a direct sales company that produces cards, gift wrap and stationery but I believe these ideas could be adapted to most direct sales businesses. If one way of working seems to fit your lifestyle but the direct sales company you’re looking at doesn’t offer it then my top tip is to think twice before you join. All my strategies for success are possible if you become a Flamingo Partner. You don’t need to turn your life upside down or find more hours in the day. Here are ways you can make it work by using what you already have or do.

10 Strategies for Success in direct sales

1 Add it on to something else you’re already doing

It doesn’t have to be either/or. It’s unlikely that you will want to drop everything else to try and make room for a new business. Choose a product that will compliment your lifestyle, hobbies or other business. If you’re making crafts for sale then gift wrap will add an extra to your service, or a greeting card to go with a gift gives you the ability to offer the complete gifting package.

2 Take it with you

Can you take your products to the office, to the school gate, to yoga class, to toddler group or wherever you go on a daily or weekly business? Use the networks you already have to show off your products and attract repeat customers.

3 Use your products

In theory you don’t have to like to your products to sell them. A good salesperson might be able to sell water to a well but it does help if you love what you’re selling and use it regularly. Not only does it give you confidence in what you’re selling but giving your products, in my case by sending cards or wrapping presents in style, is an opportunity to show them off.

4 Raise some money for a good cause

Are you involved in a community group or is there a charity close to your heart. Use your products to raise some money. Offer 10% or more of your sales to your cause. People love to help and love to feel that others are benefitting from their purchases. Make use of that and help others while building your customer base with some good publicity.

5 Enhance your subscription box

If you already run a business that sends out a regular subscription box then use the new products to enhance your box. Gift wrap or tissue could be used to wrap the contents while advertising the same gift wrap and tissue for customers to buy for their own wrapping needs. An appropriate card could be included to match the theme of your box or the time of year, again advertising the range of cards available for sale. The average person in the UK sends 33 cards a year. Be creative with how you present your products, this will make you different to the rest and attract others to your business.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Joba

6 Add the personal touch

Do you run a company that provides a service to others, or does your partner or another family member? For example, I know estate agents who like to give a ‘New Home’ card to their clients when they pick up their keys. Or a Vet who likes to send a sympathy card when a loved pet is put to sleep. I have a customer who runs a Beauty Salon who likes to send cards to her clients when they have get married, have a baby, suffer a bereavement etc. Sending greeting cards can add a very powerful personal touch to your business.

7 Treat your employees

Similar to the previous idea but if you already employ staff then can you use your products to treat them? Can you reward them for a job well done? Send a birthday card or occasion card to show you take note of their lives outside of work. Personal touches make people feel valued and that builds loyalty within a workplace. Little acts like these can make you stand out from the crowd as an employer.

Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you should build one with your employees first.

Angela Ahrendts

8 Provide a community service

No I don’t mean of the criminal penalty kind! Do you live somewhere that people find it hard to access the products you offer? I have a good friend of mine who got so fed up of hearing her neighbours say they were off to town for a birthday card that she asked to take one of my baskets of cards to have at home so she could offer a better and more convenient service and product to her community.

9 Help a hospital or care home

Do you work in or visit a hospital or care home on a regular basis? Similar to the community service idea, many people who live or work in these places have great difficulty in getting to shops to purchase things. Bring your ‘shop’ to them. Ask if someone can care for your ‘shop in a basket’ which you can leave in a safe, convenient place for them to buy from when they need to.

10 Build an online business

Do you spend time on social media? Are you a Pinterest addict or an Instagram lover? Use that time to build a business. Share images of your products with links to your direct sales website. No need to even buy stock, just let people love what they see and tell them how to click and buy for themselves. Rather like affiliate marketing but usually with higher profit margins. If you’re already doing affiliate marketing then treat your direct sales business as an extra string to your affiliate bow.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Mark Twain

Whatever you do, however you do it, get started. Don’t put it off by waiting for the prefect business model to come along. Find the products you like then make the business opportunity work for you, in your situation. Use the strategies for success that fit with where you’re at. Start there and build out as you grow.

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Multi-tasking – is it really that great a skill?

multi-tasking

Apparently as a woman I’m very good at multi-tasking. Why is then that I’m not that proud of my ability?

Multi-tasking, an ability or a necessity?

I just ask because I’ve noticed that if I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to write a blog post surrounded by 4 children all demanding food, drink or answers to really important questions like ‘why do you have to whack fish when you catch them?’ simultaneouly that I am expected to just juggle it all. At the very worst I’m supposed to drop the blog post and deal with the rest. Only once everything else is satisfied do I feel allowed to return to the blog. And of course everything else is never satisfied.

So much research tells us that multi-tasking isn’t actually a good thing. It is far more productive to focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking slows down our overall output. Yet women seem to have no choice but to get on with it. We’re told women can multi-task, men can’t but I think the truth might be that women don’t have the luxury of not multi-tasking.

Why are there different rules for him and her?

However, when he is writing a blog post, or typing a comment in to Facebook and someone else dares to talk to him, usually me, they get at best a grit of the teeth and at worst told to leave him alone he’s trying to work.

If we are both in the kitchen and a child wants something they will immediately ask ‘mum’. A friend of mine told me recently about when she was out at work all day and her husband had the children. She returned home to find him playing computer games while the two young children sat playing quietly…until they saw her. Then it was ‘mummy, I need a drink’, ‘mummy, what’s for tea?’. How do men get away with it?

Do women expect to multi-task while men have a right to focus?

Are we women at fault for just coping with it all so well? Should we shout ‘leave me alone’ more often? Or does that go against our instincts especially when it’s children that are demanding our attention?

Even as I write this I can hear huffing an puffing from him further along the kitchen table as he juggles holding a sleeping (not demanding!) baby while trying to edit an email. The only reason I’ve surrendered the body is that my back is too sore to hold the bundle any longer. Normally that would be me typing away one-handed with a softly snoring darling snuggled into my shoulder. You should see how good I’ve got at typing with me left-hand only.

Perhaps women are their own worst enemy. Or perhaps our children in particular are just too precious to us to demand the extravagance of single-tasking as it would inevitably mean turning their demands and needs away.

What does this mean for women, especially mothers, who work from home?

I don’t have the answers to this question? I want the answers! My own experience is that I constantly feel like I’m juggling everything and everyone. The task is never finished. Consequently I’m often tired, irritable and downright miserable. Of course I love my children etc etc and sure I wouldn’t have it any other way. No wait – actually I might. If I could just tweak things a little to allow time to breathe for myself now and then, perhaps I wouldn’t feel quite so washed out.

How do women, mothers in particular, cope with working from home? According to a previous blog post I wrote apparently I do, and of course yes I still agree with everything I wrote but sometimes it just feels too hard. If you are one who manages it, please let me know how you do it as I don’t think I do and I could do with some advice.

Of course since starting this post the adorable sleeping bundle woke up, demanded mummy and has returned to me. Oh well, back to the one handed, cack handed typing it is…

 

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Is there room for more?

cards and gift wrap in the highlands and islands

I’ve just had a fabulous 2 days at one of the best agricultural shows in the UK, the Black Isle Show. While I do some of my business online, I think it’s really important to get these fabulous Flamingo cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands.

Fireplace paperchainsDespite the rain, the footfall was good, people’s spirits weren’t dampened and everyone seemed impressed with my fireplace (held in place by some paper chains – just shows how sturdy they are!)

As they oohed and aahed over the cards, I asked quite a few customers, ‘Have you heard of Flamingo Paperie?’ and to my surprise many of them said, ‘No.’

Who is Flamingo Paperie?

Flamingo Paperie (formerly Phoenix Trading) have been going for 22 years. You can’t buy Flamingo cards in the shops. However there are 1000s of Partners across the country selling cards in workplace baskets, holding coffee, cake and cards in people’s homes, setting up stalls like mine. Ultimately these people become ‘The Card Lady’ (or man) to their friends and relatives.

Yet many have still not heard of Flamingo Paperie and don’t know a Flamingo Partner.

People want to buy these cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands so we need more Flamingo Partners.

Do you love cards? Are you a stationery addict? Do you know even a small handful of people who would love to have access to good quality, reasonably priced, ethical, and charitable greeting cards? Would you like to make a little money selling these fabulous products? Would you like to be able to buy these cards and gift wrap in the Highlands and Islands?

If so, then you could be the next card lady (or man).

You can become a Partner from as little as £45 starting you off with cards, a
few brochures and some business stationery. These are at a high discount to get you started so if you’re a card lover you will save money whatever happens.

Perhaps you want something bigger than that?

Then start with the £200 business pack. This contains over £500 of cards and stationery, more brochures and plenty of business material to get you going.

Or if you’re somewhere in the middle then there’s a £95 pack too. Which ever pack you choose the start up covers stock, business materials and your first year registration fee. It also covers your public liability insurance (usually about £50 a year) and a free personalised ecommerce website.

Statutory Notice – It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. The promoter of the Flamingo Partner scheme is Flamingo Paperie 60 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London, SW19 5EE

Start now!

Black Isle ShowBlack Isle Show

If you’re attending the Black Isle show this year I’ll be there in the craft tent. The Black Isle Show is always the 1st Thursday in August. So it’s 2nd August 2018. Pop by and say hello! Even if you need just a card (it’s never just a card!)

 

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The Day that Changed my Life

Follow your dreams Phoenix Trading cards

I didn’t know it at the time but that day was to change my whole outlook on life. What happened planted a seed in my mind that was to grow over the next few years.

I was in my early 20s, just married and in my second job following graduation. I had a career ahead of me and any thoughts about children were way in the future. Although everything may have seemed fine on the outside, on the inside I was struggling. Battling with depression as a side effect of the contraceptive pill, I was finding it hard to get through each day. I wouldn’t say I was actively suicidal but the thought of my life ending abruptly wasn’t unappealing.

Feeling under the weatherIt was at this time that I had a review with my line manager.

He had noticed that I’d had a few days off sick, not a lot but a few. He’d noticed that I was struggling and didn’t seem at all surprised when I confessed that I was seeing the doctor about my depression. (I had stopped the medication but was still climbing back out of the pit.)

I was encouraged to hear him say he understood, he’d been there but his next words knocked me for six:

‘Well, we clearly don’t want to push you over the edge but we do need you to work extra hours.’

Extra hours??? I was barely making it through 9-5, 5 days a week!!! And for what? Extra hours wasn’t going to earn me any extra money or even develop my career path, it was simply to be able to bill the client more and put more money in the pockets of the shareholders. How pointless that seemed then.

Moose of MotivationI left that job shortly after but it wasn’t until years later that I discovered how to work for myself. I wish I had known then but life’s experiences have shaped who I am now so no regrets. I now have 4 children and run my own business selling Flamingo cards and stationery. I’m not making millions, which isn’t surprising as my family are my priority just now not my work. Like any business you only get out what you put in and right now I’m investing in my family but quietly building a business for when I do have a little more time to make it grow bigger.

Being with my young children is priceless and I wouldn’t change a thing. Being my own boss suits me just fine. Life is really too short.

Only I can push me over the edge and I choose not to.

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What is a Pyramid Scheme (and what is not?!)

pyramid scheme reach for the stars phoenix cards phoenix trading Facebook business page

“A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.” (taken from Wikipedia)

Often you hear people wrongly call multi-level marketing, or direct sales schemes pyramid schemes.

What I think are the 5 main differences between a Pyramid Scheme and an MLM

1 Overall Profit

The big difference is that any commission paid to team leaders in a direct sales scheme is from the profits that the overall company makes from selling a product (or service) and not directly from any sign up fee.

2 Shareholders

Compare that with your typical shareholder owned company where any profits made by the worker go directly to shareholders. The worker usually earns a fixed wage, most probably gets no overtime and rarely receives a bonus for any extra sales or revenue generated. Whereas the shareholder will get their share of the profits with very little input into developing the worker’s role. (Now that sounds more like a pyramid scheme to me – and certainly doesn’t seem fair!)

3 Bonuses

In a direct sales business you have the same opportunity to make profit on the goods/services you sell as anyone else in your upline or downline. You can usually earn further bonuses if you sell certain amounts and it’s your choice to do that. Work hard and you can earn the bonuses. Choose to do it as a hobby and make some pocket money, the choice is yours but the money you earn comes from what you sell.

4 Team Building

In addition you can make commission based on having other people in your team who also sell. The commission does not come out of their pay packet. The profits of the company make up the commission scale. In other words you get the shareholders cut. But only if you work hard do you get this reward – seems fair to me!.

5 Rewards for effort!Follow your dreams Phoenix Trading cards

Mentor and support your team and they’re more likely to blossom. They’ll make more profit from more sales. They may well start building their own teams and you’ll get commission as a reward for working hard and supporting them.

 

 

PS – I love being in direct sales and if you’d like to know more about what I do then you’ll like Can I make money at this?

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You don’t have to be crazy!

join Phoenix Trading cards business opportunity

Why would you think we’re crazy anyway?! Join Phoenix today and you’ll find out that we are all different and all doing our business our way.Phoenix Trading training and support provided

What is a Phoenix Trader?

OK, so we wrap presents with matching tags and ribbons. We see our Christmas products in June and we love cake. Can you handle that?

Seriously though, we are all self-employed, independent Phoenix Traders running a business or a hobby whichever way suits us. You don’t need to have any experience just enthusiasm and a love of beautiful cards or a stationery addiction helps!

For anything else you need to know there is full training and support available when you join Phoenix.

Phoenix Trading offer a 90 day email getting started support programme and online webinars. I try and have regular face to face meetings with my team (with cake!) and if that’s not possible due to geography then I’m available for phonecalls, emails or whatever suits you best. We have regular online meetings via Facebook and some of my team like to Skype. Phoenix Trading hold roadshows twice a year in Jan/Feb and June/July (where we see the Christmas things!). Phoenix will send you monthly newsletters to keep you up to date with the latest developments.

No one will force you to attend any meetings, if you’re not on Facebook, it’s not compulsory but the support is there if you want it. However, it’s your business and it’s up to you how much you tune in to the support available. I do find that my team members who listen and share most with me and their fellow team are the most successful but it’s your choice.

This month I also have a special Golden Ticket! The first person to join my team between now and the end of the month will receive extra products free in their start up stock pack.

You will get a basic free website when you join Phoenix. You can choose to upgrade this to an ecommerce website for a one-off fee of £15.

However, join Phoenix in January 2017 and you’ll get this upgrade for free. This means people can buy direct from your website and you don’t even need to handle any stock.

Contact me now for more information, or join here.

STATUTORY NOTICE

It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved.

Flexible, work from home, Phoenix cards

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Is it possible to earn money as a full time mother without the kids suffering?

mums working from home

Mums working from home have a difficult task on their hands. Juggling work and looking after the children is a tough job. Is it possible to do both? I believe so. In fact I believe if you choose the right business it can enhance the whole experience.

How mums working from home can make it work for everyone

Allow me a brief introduction of myself. IMG_9962
I’m a full time mother of three, the oldest is now 9, the youngest 3. I’ve been a full time mother for 9 yrs. For the past 8 years I’ve also run a part time business.

I admit that we were lucky, at first it wasn’t about the money. My husband had a good enough job and we adjusted our lifestyle to suit one income. I did struggle in early motherhood with my ‘loss’ of purpose. It took me over 4 years to appreciate the value of what I was giving my children as a full time mother. The ‘business’ was a hobby and I didn’t even keep my commission but donated it to charity.

Then my husband’s job went downhill, wasn’t quite what he had hoped for, a little stress and disappointment and we began to wonder if this is what life was all about. Call it mid-life crisis if you wish.

So what, you might think?

Plenty folk hate their job, that’s life…but if you could change it wouldn’t you? If it was possible to do what you really wanted, what your deepest desire was, wouldn’t you at least give it a go?

My husband wanted to write. He wanted out of his job and via a bizarre set of circumstances I realised I quite enjoyed selling things and supporting others to fulfil their potential. Running a direct sales, network marketing business started to look less like a hobby. It looked more like a fulfilling way to earn an income.

WS364_storkWhat’s more, running a network marketing business like mine (I’m an Independent Phoenix Trader and I sell gorgeous cards and stationery alongside my growing team of Traders) not only seemed possible with a baby and toddler in tow, it actually seemed a positive part of full time motherhood. Perhaps mums working from home who have been doing these kind of businesses for years are actually on to something.

Here’s a few reasons why it’s working for me:

No childcare costs – maybe obvious but being able to take my children with me in my business means I don’t have to pay childcare or leave my children with strangers.

Flexibilty – because I can take my children with me I can work on my business when it suits me, not just after bedtime. And to be honest I’m not fit for much in the evening, I’m probably a morning person.

L278_Fairy_CelebrationStickers – my kids love stickers so they often volunteer to help with sticking labels on brochures or other ‘mundane’ tasks like putting cards in cellos or stuffing envelopes. They love helping me stocktake or set up my stall. This isn’t slave labour, they don’t have to do it, I don’t make them do it, but they want to. It’s fun to them.

Cute sales aids – I don’t really consider myself a people person. My social skills aren’t great and certainly don’t come naturally. So when it comes to fairs, events or even putting a basket in a workplace it’s so much easier with a toddler in tow. The children are the conversation starters just by being there, making it much easier for me.

Entrepreneurs – my kids are more entrepreneurial than me. Perhaps they don’t have my fear of failure, they’ll have great ideas and just go for it. My oldest who often lacks confidence has now raised a few hundred pounds for charity making and selling sweetie cones. But what astounds me is how she will confidently ask complete strangers passing by her stall if they’d like to buy a cone. My children are learning business skills way before they realise it and way better than me!

It is possible

So when people ask is it possible for mums working from home to be a full time mum and run a business, the answer for me is not only is it possible it’s a really positive thing and actually an enhancement of the parenting role. There are lots of different things you can do too.

If you’d like to find out more about what I do and how it works for me, just ask.

A072_Birds

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How to make money working from home

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/personalfinance/how-to-make-money-working-from-home/ar-AAaDKYd

Fantastic wee article about working from home and direct selling, including a Phoenix Trader!
Find out more about becoming a Phoenix Trader.

You can be a Phoenix Trader in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or France and an International Business Customer anywhere.

I’m happy to send information out to anyone who is interested in finding out more, no obligations!

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Why Flamingo Paperie and what’s cake got to do with it?

why flamingo paperie

People often ask me why Flamingo Paperie?

There are a lot of reasons but here are today’s top 5 reasons why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes

1 – Potential

TF22-butterfliesThe UK card industry is huge and growing. Despite what you might think, “that no one sends cards anymore because we all just Facebook each other”, the Greeting Card Association UK (GCA) reports that sales of greeting cards are actually increasing! In fact we spend more on cards than we spend on tea and coffee put together!

2 – Charity

I am passionate about giving something back. Having previously worked in areas like Darfur and Sierra Leone I cannot escape the reality that I am hugely blessed in life. I don’t believe in just giving handouts. On the whole these don’t better someone else’s circumstances. But giving people the tools they need to take control of their own lives and situations – that’s worthwhile. Flamingo Paperie as an organisation always looks to share their success, to give out, not keep it all to themselves. The people who run it have done this since they started as the company, Phoenix Trading in 1995. All our Christmas cards are charity cards. Some of my team donate all their profits to charity, and I love to help people raise some extra money for their cause, be it their Scout group or their local hospice.

3 – Being my own boss

I’ve done the working for a big company and having to work overtime to make more money for shareholders with no personal gain. I’m through with that! Anyone with children will value flexibility in life as planning even a day can all go to pot with a sick child, a well timed nappy change, an unexpected nap (from the child not me…though often I wish!). Working from home and being in charge of my tasks and goals, with no one saying “I know it’s tough and we don’t want to push you over the edge but we do need you to work the overtime” (as a previous boss said to me after I had disclosed that I had depression and was struggling to make it through each day), is a key reason why Flamingo Paperie is best for me and my whole family.

4 – Flitter

What is flitter? Why do I go on about it so much? Flitter is that wonderful stuff also known as fairy dust or magic sparkle that people sometimes mistake for the poor imitation that is glitter. Many of Flamingo Paperie’s cards are flittery – and at no extra cost! If the cards aren’t flittered the illustrations are still stunning. When I first became an independent Phoenix Trader I thought I might send them some of my designs but I’ve since been privileged to see some of the original artwork and, no – I won’t be sending mine in. The artists who illustrated for Phoenix Trading and now Flamingo Paperie are in a league of their own…if you are in that league you might want to look at the info for artists.

5 – Cake!

Sorry can’t get away from it…I’ve tried to eat less of it but there’s no getting away from the fact I love cake. Flamingo Paperie Partners eat a lot of cake, drink a lot of tea – and when we can we love wine with our cards too. Being a Flamingo Paperie Partner is about people. Whether it be listening to what someone wants out of their business, seeing how I can support someone with fundraising or helping someone choose the right sympathy card. These conversations often happen over a cuppa and if possible a slice of cake. I’m not fussy what kind of cake, any will do!

B030-sugar-and-spiceThese are my reasons for today and probably in today’s order why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes.

They might change because being an independent Flamingo Paperie Partner means I can be flexible like that. If you’d like to find out more do get in touch. I’ll be happy to send you some information with no commitment on your part. Except possibly the requirement to eat cake if you come to a team meeting. But as I say I’m flexible – you choose how big a slice you want!