Can you mix business and pleasure?ย 

So this one is an interesting one for me. When you’re doing something you love, that also happens to be your business, can the line between the serious element of business, and the passionate element of fun become blurred? When is having some fun with your ideas stepping into the realms of not taking things seriously? 

Many of the guys I work with in my business are in the same position as me. I have a 9-5 job in the corporate (ish) world and my business has to build around that. In whichever gaps I find! The reason this scenario is important is that given the limited amount of time I have, it’s important to me that it’s fun to do. Yes of course I want it to grow and provide a better future for me and my babies too, but slogging away at something that’s not much fun… well that’s just not for me. 

Now I am fortunate in that the day job is the area I love. Marketing. But working in such a big organisation, its marketing within very strict parameters. I mean it has to be, with so many things out there. Without guidelines and rules, it would be marketing chaos! But when you’re a crazy creative at heart, that can be frustrating. In my business, the only boundaries I have are the ones I create myself. Exciting stuff huh? Or is it more dangerous? 

Well let’s look at the facts. In the corporate world you’re a small cog in what is a massive brand. Sure you contribute, but your just one of many parts. But in your business, particularly in network marketing, you are the brand! Pretty cool don’t you think? Little ol’ me a brand! So if I’m a brand, what do I want to be seen as? Well of course I want to be taken seriously, but I want people to have fun and enjoy the products as much as I do. So when I plan my week, I always include activities that a) I enjoy and b) I think my customers will enjoy. I should probably put a caveat on ‘plan’. My planning consists of me, a notebook and an hours headspace to decide how the week will go. Obviously the plan might be tweaked as the week goes on, but essentially I plan to do what I know I enjoy…

Now there lies another debating point. It is a business, so while planning the bits I enjoy doing, when does the ‘other’ stuff get done? You know, making sure your paperwork is up to date, you’ve filed you invoices etc. You’d be forgiven for thinking that if you concentrate predominantly on the fun parts of your job, you are sure as hell stacking up a few pretty rubbish days filled with all the things you dislike the most. But the revelation… when the fun stuff is genuinely fun, the other bits actually become a sanity check point. A time to calm down the creative juices, just for a moment, and plant your feet on the ground. It’s almost therapeutic. 

So have I answered my original question? In all honesty, I’m not sure. I’m in no doubt whatsoever that you have to bring fun in to what you do. Where that boundary lies – when having fun oversteps the mark – I’m yet to find it. So for now, I’ll continue to do what I’m doing, I’ll continue to enjoy it, and I’ll enjoy the successes as they come. Maybe this is a topic I’ll need to revisit at some point in the future… and if I need to I surely will. 

Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!ย 

As ridiculous as this sounds, being surrounded by happy, cheery people can take some getting used to! Particularly in the context of work! The skeptic in you tries to work out what the hell these people are after and what’s in it for them being so goddanm delirious all the time! Well I’ve worked out exactly what’s in it for them and actually they get the same benefit whether you choose to smile with them or stay the suspicious slightly grumpy one!

My first experience of the happy club in its entirety was only a couple of weeks into my business. I was convinced to take the day out to go on the ‘company day’ (in cheery land it’s labelled success day but we won’t worry about that right now).  I knew the venue but I what expected the set up to be versus what it actually was… well, the two scenarios were worlds apart.

You’d be forgiven for expecting the set up to have degree of formality – of course I knew this isn’t the corporate world so it was likely to be different from anything I’d experienced before. But disco balls, bright flashing lights and loud music. I was not expecting that!! I came away that day feeling upbeat and happy for sure. But my skepticism did remain and I hold my hands up having a little wobble in crebibility of the whole thing.

Over the next few day I thought a lot about what I’d seen and heard and set to work on finding out how such a successful company could operate in such a way. I mean my love of the products and belief in the structure of the business was never in doubt. But damn, all those happy people…

So I looked at the facts. Obviously it originated in America. So it was always going to be different in that respect. Second it was founded by a man who had people at the heart of everything he did (and still does now). But by far the best fact is the mission of the whole company (from the start and to this day) has fun at the centre of it. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many companies that insist on fun at the heart of everything.

So you see, while a company day that feels more like a concert may be different and require you to open up your mind and expectations, actually it wouldn’t work any other way. If the company you work for doesn’t operate by its values and mission, how can its business owners be expected to follow through and represent the brand?

Now I’m firmly with the happy clan. And guess what? It’s fabulous! A smile goes a long way, a compliment feels good to give, and it’s surprising how productive you can be when you let go of uneccessary  grumpiness. I said at the beginning I’d worked out what’s in it for the cheery ones. Well it’s simple really. They get to go to bed every night knowing they’ve done their best and knowing they were the best version of themselves that they could be. I’ll have some of that!

So until next time, keep smiling ๐Ÿ˜Š Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com

 

You get by with a little help from your friendsย 

So whenever you start something new, there’s always a risk that you won’t be taken seriously. Particularly when you’re starting from a base knowledge of zero! Because of course everyone who knows you, particularly your friends and family, will already know what you do, what experience you have… basically they know a lot about you. Now make network marketing your new thing, and well, I can’t lie, it’s scary! 

Network marketing is a skill the same as any other. You need to dedicate yourself to learning what it’s all about. It’s also a profession shrouded in many misconceptions making this already scary step feel even more like a giant leap into the unknown. So given the perceived risk you’re taking, is it any wonder you worry about whether you’ll have your friends and family behind you? 

So I’m guessing most of you have heard about network marketing. But I’m going to go out on limb and guess that you don’t know a huge amount. And nor should you! There are so many business models out there none of us could be expected to just get it! I’m learning something new every day and I’ll be more worried the day I don’t get a surprise nugget of knowledge. 

But for me, the absolute best starting point was to just start small and simple  and start telling my friends and family about what I was doing. Like I’ve said before, I’ll learn the rest as I go. 

So I did just that – never underestimate the difference your friends and family can make. You see what you forget is your friends and family love you. They want you to do well and you failing isn’t something they like to think about. Sounds obvious does it? But in the moment very easy to forget this. 

I remember in the first few weeks being almost embarrassed about talking about my products. I mean, how silly! The first friend that was more than happy to test and see laughed at me when I gave her the products in a Sainsbury’s bag! I explained we didn’t want people to judge! She found it hilarious ๐Ÿ˜‚ To be fair, it is quite funny with the benefit of hindsight. 

Obviously today, I’m not embarrassed at all – infact I love a good chat about all the products I have! Never pushy mind, generally people start the conversation by asking me about a product they’ve heard about. 

From my experience, your friends and family will have your back. Even if they don’t fancy the products, they’ll share what you’re offering, they’ll mention you when a friend of theirs is looking for something you might have. So the lesson is this, trust your loved ones! A little help from them will go a long long way. 

Love my friends โค Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com

Knowledge and power?

So I mentioned in my earlier blog that my lack of Aloe knowledge was a real barrier to taking the plunge. I mean really, how could I expect people to take me seriously when I basically knew bugger all?! And not forgetting I had achieved the apparent impossible by killing an Aloe plant. Epic fail (yet still a little impressive no?)

I recently read Richard Branson’s book Screw It, Let’s Do It (brilliant read btw) and I found myself feeling quite smug that I’d actually used some of his philosophies when I took the plunge 8 months ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a moment suggesting I’m the next Richard Branson. Jeez, the guy is mad is the nicest possible way! Never will you see me in a balloon over the sea, just to prove it’s possible! I have been in a hot air balloon – it was a great experience and I’m glad I did. But it was bloody petrifying and I probably won’t do it again. But the basic rule of go for it and learn as you go, well that is me to a tee (when my life isn’t in danger of course*).

Of course, I still have a lot to learn (oh I do love to learn though) but I know a lot more now than I ever imagined I’d know about Aloe. (Between you and me I even have a thriving (and very alive) Aloe plant in the kitchen… Shhh..) Believe me, my aspiration as a young girl was never to learn about Aloe and make a business from it. Can you imagine? ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ ‘I’d like to be an Aloe guru and tycoon’. Yeah, not something you’re likely to hear from a child. That said, my Aloe loving babies may just surprise us all and break that mould…

So what does learning as you go actually mean? Well obviously common sense plays a part. I read a book or two, did a bit of googling, asked a lot of questions of those in the know. But by far the best lesson was embracing the products. There are so many, I have to admit its initially a little scary. But hey, I had a box, full of the stuff, so why not just try them all? I put away everything single high street brand that could be replaced by my new products and I set to work. I say work, but all that meant was using them and making an honest decision on whether I liked them or not. Now, another scary element of this – what if I hate them all? Phew, thank god I didn’t! In fact, I’m a little bit in love with all of them. If you cut me in half, I’d trickle Aloe.

So learning as you go isn’t a bad thing. In my opinion it’s the most honest way of learning. I’m sure they say (I’d love to know who they are, fountain of knowledge right there) experience is the best way to do it.Well right or wrong, I believe that’s the truth. And I apply the same principle to business building too (more on that at a later date). If your mind is open to learning, you’ll learn. Simples.

Well, it’s 8.30pm, I’m hungry, and I quite fancy a relaxing Aloe bath. So I’ll leave you to enjoy your Friday evening.

Laters lovelies xx

*Goes without saying btw. I’m not mental ๐Ÿ˜‰

forever.emmav@yahoo.com

Why are compliments so uncomfortable?

So here’s a question for you. Why is it, that when you’re recognised for a job well done, thanked for something you just do anyway, sent a gift just because you did something nice, recognised in a big group for an action that at the time was relatively small to you, it makes you feel so bloody uncomfortable? You know the feeling. Almost embarrassed and you feel so totally unworthy of all the attention.

The great news – you soon get used to it and will eventually thrive in all the love. You can’t help but feel any other way. But it does beg the question – when did we all become so cynical that we just accept we don’t get recognised? You won’t be surprised to hear I have a theory ๐Ÿ˜‰ But hey, just my take on it.

Before I start on the theory, let me just let you in on a little secret. I am without a doubt the world’s worst at accepting a compliment. Seriously, I’m that annoying person, that rather than just saying thank you says that ‘get you out of the uncomfortable situation’ response yeah but…. (fill in the words to fit the situation). I annoy myself sometimes if I’m honest. But is it any wonder that giver of said compliment pauses next time they want to just say something nice? I mean, who wants to be questioned on their motives for being nice when they were simply speaking from the heart? So actually, there’s the first part of the theory. Even when the brave stand up and show the love, they’re faced with a wall of cynicism! Questioned on their honesty. And so the vicious cycle continues.

Let’s move this into the workplace for a moment. Who here would consider themselves a grafter? Let me define that. Someone that just quietly gets the job done. Not big on shouting about everything, more concerned with making sure you do your best and you deliver. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that’s appreciated. But with all the noise you’re easily forgotten. You just get lost in the everyday busyness. Now imagine quietly plugging away at your own business, thinking no one is watching when suddenly you’re receiving messages congratulating you for a great idea, being asked for advice, being told your amazing for just getting on with it. Yeah but…..

So I’m going to share the ultimate ‘uncomfortableness’ in recognition now… Wow, this was dumping me up s@+t creek without a paddle! Imagine getting a promotion… A nice 3% pay rise in just 6 months. All good. But not your usual email announcing the promotion as you might expect. Hell no. Let’s recognise the promotion, on a stage at the NEC, in front of 2000 people. Brilliant. Sure fire way to set the anxiety off right there! This was absolutely so far out of my comfort zone it wasn’t even funny. There are many witnesses that can confirm I was a rabbit in headlights that day. But weirdly, once the shock had passed, I actually quite enjoyed it. In fact I more than enjoyed it, what a buzz! Get me back on that stage I say!

So have we just become so scared of recognising each other that we just don’t bother anymore? If you try to recognise you’re questioned, if you’re recognised there must be an ulterior motive? Who knows why we are where we are. But I for one will be making a real effort to a) not fear telling someone when they’re doing good and b) just accepting when someone has something nice to say to me. Hand on heart, this is my biggest learning curve. And you know what, it won’t change the world. But I’m pretty sure it will make my world a better place.

Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com


 

 

 

The boss of the Aloe

So just a short one here because it made me smile and I had to share ๐Ÿ™‚ 

So do you ever look at your job title and think wtf?! I know I’ve had this conversation with many people in my time! Why is it that in the corporate world it seems the more abstract it is, the more impressed people are? I mean honestly, can you hand on heart say that your job title accurately depicts what you do? 

So that leads me to this evenings epiphany! I have the gift of describing what I’m doing in any way I want to. So lets be brave and do what no other seems to want to do. Drum roll… 

Let’s keep it simple! And what simpler way to give myself a title than to let my 5 year old choose it. She says it how it is. Simple, clear, genius.

So from this day forth my title is The boss of the Aloe. Has quite a ring to it, don’t you think? 

No further words are required. Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com

Time to shine

So this morning I was asked where I find the time to ‘do’ my business with 2 kids and a job. My answer was no idea! I just do it! But it got me thinking. Where do I find the pockets of time to just get s@&t done?! 

Well first and foremost I dumped the unnecessary stuff. For years I was one of those people that just loved the Facebook newsfeed. Once the kids were in bed I’d spend many hours over the week scrolling through and learning what people had eaten for dinner, who’d been to the gym, liking selfies. Posting the odd one too ๐Ÿ˜‚ You know normal Facebook behaviour. I’d watch videos of people falling over, pranking each other, people putting stuff straight in their basket (admit it, you know the one cos I bet you’ve watched it too!) Now don’t get me wrong, I still like a little bit of the random scrolling (who doesn’t?) but I just do a lot less of it now. I’m still on Facebook but instead of scrolling I’m posting about my business and talking to my lovely customers. Some evenings I play games in my customer group because the whole point of Facebook is to socialise and have fun right? This small change has freed up enough time to touch my business everyday.

Another one that’s been key in giving me time is I involve the kids on the aloe journey. Oh bless em, they love the aloe! You may have seen I posted a video of my youngest filming herself doing an aloe talk. Brilliant! She’d seen me do a live video in a team group and wanted to get in on the action. Star in the making that one. Anyway, I digress. Back to involving the bubbas. So a leaflet drop is quite a hard one to sell in to a child. But add a sunny day, a bike, a pile of leaflets each that they can post through actual people’s doors… Bingo! Kids are sold on the idea, we get a healthy afternoon of fresh air and my business has a fun dedicated 2 hours of time. Win/win scenario I reckon. The other thing about involving the kids of course is they can’t help but talk. They love using the products (Gelly is a particular favourite – sticky but magic in the words of a 5 year old!) and love to tell their friends about it. Who then like to tell their teachers and their mums. And those same mums then ask me about my products at the school gates. How cool is that. I didn’t even need to create time there, it happened on its own. Result! 

Finally, on time, I generally just talk about what I’m doing to anyone who wants to listen. And you’ll be surprised how many like to hear about it all. So while I’m on a coffee break at work, I’ll ask if people want to try a product. Or I’ll tell them about the things I’ve done with my business. When I’m at the hairdressers, I tell the lovely stylist my story, including the aloe. They love to hear all about our lives right? 

So that’s it really. Time just kind of happens if you let it. So what I now know is a perceived lack of time should never stop you going for something you love. It’s just about being a little creative with what time actually is. Multitasking when you can. And making the time you find fun! 

Laters lovelies xx

forever.emmav@yahoo.com