Is your direct sales business ruining your friendships?
Is direct sales ruining friendships for you? Have you noticed people unfriending you on Facebook, not responding to your messages/texts/calls, not wanting to hang out with you, etc? It may have something to do with the way you are running your business. Direct sales doesn’t have to hurt friendships! It can actually help them!
The #1 rule in business, especially online business, is build relationships! Building relationships and connecting with your customers is crucial in any business, but especially in direct sales. I say this all the time, but people need to know, like, and trust you before they will buy from you, and even more so if they are going to be a repeat customer!
So your main focus with your business should be building relationships, not selling. Don’t worry so much about the sales – those will come when you connect with people. Treat your customers like a real person, a friend even, not just a sale. Take care of your customers. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you.
Stop adding people to groups
I feel like I should put this one in all caps and shout it from the rooftops. STOP ADDING PEOPLE TO GROUPS! Most people cannot stand this and it just turns them off from your business. So, if you are doing this, it is very likely hurting your business, not helping it.
Now, Facebook has pretty recently changed some things so that people have to accept an invite to a group, but still – they’re probably not going to if they were just added without their permission. Plus, a smaller engaged and interested following is waaaay better than a larger unengaged, uninterested audience. Really, truly. Quality is much better than quantity.
Having tons of people in your Facebook is not good for your business, especially where Facebook is concerned. According to Facebook, having an engaged following is more important than a large following!
Don’t do business on your personal profile! That is against Facebook’s policies and you could find yourself in Facebook jail if you do. This is a great way to get unfriended, unfollowed, and marked as spam.
Facebook business pages exist for a reason….for business! This will help keep you from ruining friendships if you keep your personal profile for your personal life, things that your friends want to see and interact with you on, and keep your business to your business page where anyone who wants to keep up with your business can “like” it and follow and interact with you there.
Now I’m not saying you can’t ever share or post something related to your business on your personal profile, but it should not be very often, especially if it is a “sales” post. Keep most of your business related content to your business page so you don’t end up annoying your friends and ruining friendships. If all they see is salesy, spammy posts on your profile, they’re going to assume that’s all you care about. They’re going to assume that you are just a sale to them, more than a friend. And you don’t want that.
Don’t be spammy or salesy
People do not get on Facebook to be sold to! If you are always just posting salesy stuff, even on your business page, you will be turning people off of your page. You should be posting only one, maybe two sales post out of every 10 posts and other types of posts for the other 8 or 9. Think encouragement, motivation, inspiration, how-tos, behind the scenes, helpful info, tips/hacks etc.
Give them a reason to want to follow you, see your posts, and come back to your page. Plus, this will help them get to know you, which helps them to like you and trust you and buy from you!
This is so important! People can see right through inauthentic people! Your followers, customers, and friends want to connect with you on a real level. They don’t want to have to be afraid that every conversation they have with you or every post they see is going to have to do with promoting your business or trying to sell to them somehow. They will see right through that and will not want to interact with you.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself, be authentic, and even get vulnerable. Connect with your followers and customers genuinely, because you truly do want to get to know them, not just to get a sale.
Since I made the transition from teaching to working from home less than a year ago, I realize that it can be hard to manage my time when working from home. It’s easy to get distracted, lose focus, and not get through my to do list. This is something I am continually trying to work on, figuring out strategies that work for me. And I am sure things will change again here in a few months after I give birth to my first baby! But for now, here are some tips of the things that are working for me to help me manage my time while working from home.
8 tips to help manage your time when working from home.
Time management isn’t really about the minutes on the clock. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day – no matter who they are. It’s about your actions, your to do list, and how you tackle those tasks. Time may be something everyone wants more of and generally struggles to get, but if you manage your tasks and your focus, you can get more done with less stress.
Sounds good, right?! I mean, who doesn’t want to finish their tasks and make progress with less stress? If you’re looking for ways to improve how you handle your time, read on.
Keep track of where you’re spending your time.
To get started with improving your own use of your time, start keeping track of where you are currently spending your time. Take note of anything you do and how much time you spend doing each task. But don’t stop there. You also need to track the time you spend doing nothing, or “wasting” time, including scrolling FB/Instagram/Pinterest/etc. Eeek! If your’e anything like me, you’ll realize you spend waaaay more time on unproductive things than you thought! This can be a real wakeup call and it may be unpleasant to see where you could be doing things differently, but that’s exactly the point. It is a good way to see where your time could be better spent.
There’s this attitude in our society that “busy” is a good thing, something to be proud of. But being “busy” doesn’t always mean productive and it can raise your stress levels. Instead of writing down every single thing that comes to mind on your to do list, it may be more helpful to prioritize your list. Take a look at your to do list and zero in on the tasks that will move your business or daily life forward. Focus on the income producing activities, or IPA’s. Choose 3-5 tasks to prioritize, and be intentional about what you choose. If you organize your list with intention, you’re more likely to get more done. Then when you get the most important things done, you can start working on the lesser important things as you have time.
Work with your energy and focus, not against it.
Most people can’t work nonstop. Energy ebbs and flows, as does concentration. Work through your streamlined to-do list when your energy is high, and take breaks when it’s lower. Figure out what time of day you work best and are most focused and plan your work day around those times. Make sure you have set business hours each day and that you stick to them. Maybe you work best early morning before the kids are up, late at night after they go to bed, or during their nap time because you have fewer distractions. Use your energy and focus, don’t work against it.
Focus on one task at a time and limit distractions.
Our brains go a mile a minute. It’s easy to get distracted by other tasks, random thoughts, and external interruptions. Sometimes those distractions can’t be helped, like if you have kids who need your attention. But other times our distractions are things like Facebook, thinking about what we’re going to do for dinner that night, or remembering something else you need to do.
As much as possible, when you settle in to do a task, just focus on that. Close your unrelated browser tabs, use Facebook feed blocking apps or extensions, hide your smartphone or put it on silent. Write down any other task or thought that comes up, then get back to the task you’re working on. It may be helpful to start by doing a brain dump, where you write down everything thing that comes to mind to get it out of the way so that you can focus on one thing. (Just don’t add everything to your to do list – keep it streamlined, remember?)
As you prioritize your list, ask if it’s essential that you do everything yourself. If there are tasks that someone else in your life can take on, let them. That frees you up for what you know you need to do.
Maybe social media is overwhelming to you and you end up spending way too much time on it, time that should be spent doing other things. It might be time to hire a social media manager. Or maybe you need a VA or an assistant, whether virtual or in person, to help take some things off of your plate.
Maybe it’s something not related to your business, like a housekeeper, to help you with other tasks so that you can spend more time on your business. If you have young kids at home, you may need to consider getting someone to watch them for a few hours a day or week so that you have some uninterrupted time to work. Whatever it is, delegate and get some things off of your plate if at all possible.
Set limits on how much time is allotted to each task.
It’s easy for a task to take up a ton of time. Give yourself a specific amount of time for each project on your priority list, then move on. If you don’t finish that task in the allotted time, schedule another session to devote to the task and move on to something else. Progress is better than losing focus and control over your to do list.
Using the Pomodoro Technique can be super helpful for this. The Pomodoro Technique is where you set a timer for a certain amount of time, typically 25 minutes (but you can do more or less depending on your needs and level of focus), and work for that time frame, then give yourself a short break. After a few of these “pomodoros” or work sessions, give yourself a longer break. You’ll be surprised on how much you can get done when you are completely focused on one task for even a short amount of time.
Schedule breaks and meals.
It’s easy to get into a zone and completely forget to get up from your work space for movement breaks and food. Your mood and energy level will suffer if you don’t keep yourself fed and get a little exercise throughout the day. Using the Pomodoro Technique can help with this, as you are giving yourself a scheduled break after a certain amount of work time. Make sure to get up, stretch, walk around, get a bite to eat, etc. during each break. This will allow you to keep up your energy and be ready for your next work session.
Start and end your day at the same times, if at all possible. Routine helps, and that’s part of why so many people find it difficult to transition from employee to work-from-home business owner, or stay-at-home mom to mompreneur. Some amount of structure is important (it’s different for everybody), and keeping to limits will help you to regulate your energy and focus. But don’t forget to give yourself grace and freedom when you need it. That’s the beauty of working from home – you do what works for YOU and you have the freedom to work when and how you work best. You get to plan your work around your life instead of the other way around!
As I made the transition from teaching to a stay-at-home soon-to-be-mom and business owner, I know that managing your time and distractions when working from home can be tough. Even tougher for you mamas with young kids at home, as I’ll find out soon enough! I’m still learning to manage my tasks and will be continuing to revise my strategies as my life at home changes.
What tips and tricks do you have for managing your time when working from home? What helps you to minimize distractions and get your work done with less stress? Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know!
I’ve been realizing lately that I’ve become lonely. Lonelier than I’ve ever been in the past. It’s not really a place I ever thought I’d be. I’ve always had friends, lots of them. All through high school, college, and my mid-twenties I was always hanging out with friends and always had someone to talk to. But I’ve realized as I’ve gotten married and entered my late twenties, early thirties, and getting close to 34, I don’t have those friends anymore. I’ve become a mom who’s lonely.
I rarely get together with friends and hang out and have fun anymore. Heck, I’m not sure I really even have friends anymore. No one to talk to outside of my husband/family, no one to do life with, laugh with, cry with, no one who “get’s” it. And it’s a lonely place to be.
This has been a hard realization for me and it’s not easy to admit and write about. But I’m trying to be more vulnerable, more open. And if I’m feeling this way, I am sure there are other women feeling lonely, too. So if that’s you, if you’re a mom who’s lonely right now, know that you’re not alone.
How did I get here, to this place of loneliness?
That’s kind of hard to say. It crept up on me and I didn’t really realize it was happening until I was here. I was one of the last of my friends group to get married, and am one of the last to start a family (currently pregnant with my first). Many, if not most of my friends already have at least one kid. Most of them have multiple kids – 2, 3, or even 4 now. I think that as they got married and started their families while I was still single, it was hard to keep up the relationship and it got harder and harder to connect with them. They had other priorities, as well they should, and time to hang out with friends became scarce.
Then when I got married, I kind of felt like I was in this in-between stage, where a few of my friends were still single, and most of the others had kids. I kind of felt like I didn’t really belong anywhere, not really. It was kind of an awkward stage for me and made it hard to connect. Now that I’m finally starting a family of my own, I’m realizing that I don’t have any friends now, not really. And it’s a lonely place to be.
So what can we do about it, when we find ourselves in this lonely place?
Remind yourself that it’s a season. It’s not forever, at least it doesn’t have to be. We all go through seasons in life, and some are harder than others. I’d even guess that most people have had seasons in their life where they felt a similar loneliness. Just because we’re feeling lonely right now and don’t have friends to connect with, doesn’t mean it will always be this way. Seasons change. They come and go. This one will too.
Pick up the phone and call someone.Or text if that’s more your thing. I know that I didn’t get to this place solely because of other people, I had a part in it too. I could have picked up the phone and called or texted my girlfriends and tried harder to keep in touch. Now, I’m not saying it’s all my fault or letting myself feel guilty about it. It happens. It’s life; it is what it is. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I can do something about it. I can call up a girlfriend and make a plan to get together.
Do something fun. Get out of the house and go do something fun. If you’re anything like me, you’re realizing that you haven’t really had fun lately. So go enjoy life again! We need to stop staying at home and feeling sorry for ourselves. There’s so much life that can be lived. When’s the last time you did something just for fun?
Get connected. If you’ve been at home with no friends and no one to talk to, start looking for somewhere to get connected. A mom’s group, a church small group, somewhere where you can connect with other women on a regular basis. I plan on joining a mom’s group that meets at a local church, as well as getting connected in a church small group with other couples with my husband. We can’t do life alone, at least not for very long. We were made to live in community, so get out there and find yours. Look online for local Facebook groups, networking groups, on church websites, etc. Ask around to see what kinds of things other women you know are involved in. I’m sure you can find something if you look hard enough.
Pray. Pray that God would bring someone into your life to be a friend. Maybe He can use you to bring friendship into someone else’s life who needs it. Maybe it’s an old friend, or maybe it’s a new one. It could be anyone. But you can always pray that He would connect you to the right person for this season of your life.
You’re not alone, girlfriend. And it gets better. I promise. We’re in this hard season together and we’ll get through it together. You’re not alone.
Here is a list of my favorite business tools that I use and I couldn’t do business without. I wanted to share them with you because I love them and they may be beneficial for you in your business, as well! If you have any favorite business tools that you love that I didn’t mention, be sure to leave me a comment and tell me about it!
My Favorite Business Tools
Planoly– I absolutely LOVE using Planoly for Instagram! I batch my graphics every week, then upload them all to Planoly to schedule throughout the week. You can set it up to post automatically for you or you can go in and do it yourself. One of the things I love most about Planoly is the ability to rearrange my scheduled posts on my feed and make it look “pretty” before actually posting. This is a great way to do it if you have a grid and want to keep it looking a certain way! Try it and let me know what you think!
Tailwind– Tailwind is a site/app that I use for Pinterest. I know that I am not using it to it’s full potential, as I am still getting it all figured out, but I love the ability to schedule posts on Pinterest! I don’t always remember to get on and pin consistently, so Tailwind helps do that for me, once I load up the queue. You can also join Tailwind tribes in your niche and share your content there to be shared by others! It is definitely worth the investment!
Gsuite – Gsuite is great for email, docs, google drive, calendar, and more. I even have my gmail set up with my domain, so my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And I love Google drive for creating, storing, and sharing documents. It’s a great way to save things that I want to be able to access from any computer or device. It’s also great for being able to share things between my clients/team members and myself when I am working with them on a project.
Acuity Scheduling – This is an awesome tool for allowing clients and team members to schedule appointments with me. I can create my calendar based on my daily life schedule and they can choose a time that works for them. I can also ask them to answer some questions when they book to help me know what they are wanting out of the call, and they pay right when they schedule the appointment, if applicable. And I love that it emails both them and me a reminder the day before!
Zoom – Zoom is a fantastic tool for video conferencing. I often use it when I want to “meet” with a someone online and want to be able to see each other and record the video content. You can use it with groups of people as well, and can see each person who is part of the meeting. Being on video is not a requirement, though, for someone who would rather not. You can also mute people other than the speaker so you cut down on background noise and other distractions. It is also free for up to 40 minutes of screen time.
Canva – This is a website that I use pretty much every day! I most definitely could not do business without it, because it is how I create all of my graphics! A lot of people use PicMonkey as well, but I prefer Canva for most things. And I love paying for Canva for Business so that I can save my brand colors and fonts. It makes it super easy and quick to create branded graphics for my business!
Trello – Trello is an awesome tool for all kinds of things, to do lists, content management, project management, and more! I use it for all of the above. You can create boards privately and use them yourself, or you can add others and have team boards. In each board you can add lists and cards and move the cards around. In the cards you can add comments, checklists, upload files, colored labels, due dates, etc. It’s pretty fantastic!
Stock Photos – There are several free stock photo sites I like to use, such as Pixabay and Unsplash and even Canva, but one of my favorites is my stock photo membership from Ivory Mix. There are tons of high quality gorgeous photos that I love to use for creating graphics and website images. You can browse the different collections she has and purchase them individually, but I highly recommend doing the membership option because it is definitely worth having access to all of the photos! She also has a lot of affordable courses that you can take as well. I’ve bought a couple of them so far and plan to go through more of them as I have time.
Siteground Hosting and the Divi Theme– As I have created several website for myself and others, I have found that these are two of my favorites! Siteground is my favorite site for hosting your website and Divi is my all-time favorite theme! I love how customizable Divi is. I can create all kinds of very different websites!
What are your favorite business tools to use? Leave a comment and let me know!
Ok, to be honest with y’all, I am not the best and keeping a clutter-free home. But lately I have been thinking about ways to keep my home less cluttered and more tidy on a daily basis. You know those homes that seem like they always look company-ready at any given time? Yeah, mine’s not one of them.
Sure, I do a pretty good job of picking up and hiding stuff putting stuff away right before I know people are coming over. But the rest of the time I am driving my husband crazy with my mess (he’s way more tidy than me). So, I’ve decided that I am going to do a better job of keeping my home clutter-free.
My goal is to have a plan for keeping things tidy and clutter-free that won’t take up much extra time. These are not huge, life-altering tips, or really anything you haven’t heard before. Anything I come up with needs to be easily implemented into my daily routines. So here are the five main things that I think are do-able on a daily basis.
5 Tips To More Easily Keeping a Clutter-Free Home
1. 10 minute pick-up at the end of every day. I am going to make it a habit to go around the house and quickly pick things up and put things away at the end of every day. You know, the blanket still lying on the couch, my shoes under the coffee table in the living room, the bra lying on the floor because I couldn’t stand wearing it any longer, the wine glass on the end table. And that’s just the living room! I didn’t mention the close lying on the bed/floor in the bedroom, the Color Street nail strips lying around my office that I didn’t get put away, etc.
I don’t have kids yet – one on the way! – so it’s just my crap stuff lying around. It should just take 10 minutes, top! This should help me stay on top of keeping the house picked up. And if I can make it a routine now, I am more likely to be able to keep it up after baby girl gets here in a few months.
2. Do the dishes after every meal. Am I the only one who sucks at this? By the time I have cooked and eaten dinner, I am tired and don’t want to do any more work! But by letting the dishes pile up, it ends up being more work later on. SoI am going to try *really hard* to make it a habit to go ahead and get the dishes done after every meal, cleaning them as I go if I am the one cooking. My husband does a really good job of this, so there’s no reason that I can’t do it too.
No more leaving the dishes out overnight (or for days!) Getting them done right away will help keep my kitchen looking nice!
3. Make sure everything has a place. I think I do ok with this one (I mean everyone is allowed to have a junk drawer, right?!), but I want to get better at it. Everything needs to have a place. If something doesn’t have a place and it needs to, then I will find a place for it so I know where to put it next time. Otherwise, I may need to get rid of it. No more clutter of things I don’t know what to do with! And I need to make sure I put things away right away, instead of letting things stay cluttered until later.
This includes the bills and paper clutter. I am going to go through the mail every day and immediately throw away anything that’s junk. Bills will go in this desktop organizer from Target. Anything that needs to be filed will go in the filing cabinet. No more piles and piles of paper and mail, just because I am too lazy to do something with it right away.
4. Make the bed everyday. This one is going to be hard. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it’s never been a habit I have gotten into. Making the bed is something I just don’t do! I know that I am way more likely to keep the rest of the bedroom picked up and clean if the bed is made, but for some reason I never do it. So from now on I plan on making it every day! (Someone want to check up with me and hold me to it???)
5. If something is not being used/loved/have a purpose, get rid of it! This one kind of goes along with number three. I am done keeping things around that I really don’t need to keep. I have a couple of tubs in my storage room that are designated “garage sale tubs,” so anything that I need to get rid of that I think I can sell, I will put in there. Otherwise I will throw it away/give it away/donate it, whatever needs to be done.
I plan on taking some time in the next few weeks to go through every room and every closet and pull out things that we don’t need to keep. Once I do this I can finally start working on the baby’s nursery! It has become a catch-all room, so this is my motivation for getting this done!
I’m Melissa Mackey, a leader with Color Street and a new lifestyle/mom blogger. A former special ed teacher turned work from home mama who loves coffee, wine, Mexican food, donuts, horses, and Jesus. Passionate about helping women like you feel just a bit more put together without taking much time out of your day – dry nail polish for the win! Sharing my about my pregnancy and journey to becoming a new mom while working my business. Come alongside me in my journey through womanhood and life. Even though it’s messy at times. Let’s be our beautiful selves together.