I launched my business officially in June of this year. In a mere not quite four months, I’ve learned a lot about business, myself, and people.
Unlike practicing law, people don’t seek me out for what I’ve got to offer. You either need a lawyer or you don’t–and hopefully you don’t. But turning people onto something as personal and seemingly non-essential as skincare is another story. It’s been eye-opening, to say the least.
So here’s what I’ve learned.
Duh. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but I don’t mean just lots of work and time doing stuff.
The company business model is pretty simple: reach out to family and friends and spread the good word about how great my and my family’s faces look using the products. The skincare line works great, so no need to make it up or enhance something mediocre. But I was totally unprepared for the resistance most people put up immediately to what they perceive as “being sold.” You’d think I was trying to get people hooked on crack or to buy a used car.
I’m the same. I’m on guard as soon as a salesperson approaches. So I don’t blame people for going on stealth mode or shut down when I tell them about my wares. And maybe the guardedness is more the result of my insecurity than their sales phobia. It takes time to build a competent, confident, and collected sharesperson.
And that’s what’s hard. Changing my attitude about what I do has been the most difficult. Every day is an adjustment, digging deeply into my heart to remember why I chose this path. And I did choose it. Sharing I’m comfortable with, listening to human stories I adore, and giving gifts I love.
It’s been hard remembering each day that those who want what I’ve got to share will take it. Those who don’t won’t. And all of it–every inch of it–is just fine just as it is. My equilibrium gets tested.
It’s hard being me most days.
2. I’ve got to be me.
It’s not just Sammy Davis, Jr., who belted out that tune last century. We all gotta be us.
My company offers tons of information, training, teams, inspiration, incentives, and tools. They offer, more importantly, awesome skincare. Those of us hooked on the brand love how our skin feels and radiates freshness and clarity.
It’s simple. Tremendous company leaders remind us how to best get the message out, how to share and represent a company built by hard work, ingenuity, and brains of two successful doctors and business women. Men and women from all walks and geography–U.S., Canada, and Australia–represent and succeed by following the path designed by smart people.
Problem is, I’ve fashioned myself as a non-conformer, individualist, lone wolf, and anti-establishment woman. My initial reaction to teams is “I can do this better alone–my way.”
That’s both wrong and right. Like an unconscious, knee-jerk reaction to “sales,” the same unthinking response to teams and teamwork is just me missing out on a helping hand and reliving tedious memories of working on group projects filled with one or two worker bees carrying the load for the non-starters and free-riders.
Again, attitude adjustment. Not everything’s a competition, and if everything is a competition, then the win must be redefined. I’m competitive. I can’t even attend a Yoga class without keeping my eyes closed to avoid watching what others are doing better. Not very yogic, for sure.
Going back to what’s hard, I’ve struggled to make this biz my own without falling back into idols or false images of myself I’ve created or impulse reactions to ingrained prejudices. The constant vigilance and testing out what feels right and wrong tires me out by the end of the day. But it’s a good fatigue, something like growing pains.
Like most things, it takes constant learning to figure out what works and doesn’t, and what rings true for me, what’s authentic.
That’s nothing new in my world. If I know one thing, I know how to plod on. It’s how I got through decades of non-stop academia and a law practice I didn’t love. It’s how anyone gets through working a job, running a business…living a life.
There’s comfort in the rhythm of sameness, rituals of daily practice. I like to wake each day opening my bedroom door to let the dog jump into bed with me while I check my morning inspirational messages (I save the rest for after coffee). I savor my morning coffee and meditation. Starting the day in pattern helps fight the nighttime despair that all is chaos and battle (drama queen that I am).
So getting up each day–dog hugs, warm coffee, breathing in silence–is followed by sitting down at the computer to see what’s going on in my world. Doing business.
Here’s where consistency challenges. Not every day is a “let’s see what I can learn” day. Some days I wake up listing to the left or right, like a pirate with a peg leg. The world seems off kilter. I don’t feel like walking the straight path to success. I don’t feel like working this biz, but can find lots of other things I feel like doing under the pretense of getting shit done.
For instance, I’ll procrastinate or do weak tasks, not the challenging ones, just to pacify myself that I’ve worked the business. So, I’ll write one-liners to people I’ve sent product samples to like, “How did you like the mini facial?” and call that a productive contact. It’s not.
Consistency means quality, not just going through the motions. People deserve more of me than I’m willing to give on too many days. Engaging, giving, and reaching out means being there, mind, body, and spirit. If it’s not with full heart and interest, I shouldn’t be reaching out.
I ‘m fond of humanity. I want to know what makes them tick. Connection makes us all feel less lonely. The greatest benefit of my 24 years in lawyering was hearing the stories of lives like and unlike my own. Gifts.
To be consistent means, once again, remembering why I do what I do.
This goes along with everything else. Patience with myself and others takes monumental strength. When a conversation goes like this, I want to scream:
Potential client: What I’ve been using for years hasn’t worked. I hate the lines in my forehead and around my mouth. The anti-aging products I’ve used for years don’t work.
Me: What do you think about the changes in my before and after pictures?
Potential client: Fantastic! You look like you’ve had a face lift! How much is it?
Me: Regimens cost between $130 to $199 for a sixty-day supply, depending on how you buy it.
Potential client: Oh, I don’t know. That’s kind of expensive.
Here’s why I want to scream: Throwing away money for years on skincare that doesn’t work is okay but spending money on what does is too expensive.
Where’s the logic? Okay, so not everything is logical. Maybe logic is overrated.
The more depressing part of that exchange is how we’re so programmed not to love ourselves. The desire to feel good about ourselves is certainly there. Just look at advertising, what sells–whatever makes us feel and look good about ourselves, whether we’re deluded or not: makeup, health food, alcohol, fashion, you name it.
The patience is in knowing we’re all just doing the best we can with what we are and have. Even me. That is all.
When I’m present, accepting, and detached from results, I’m good at what I do. Those days aren’t often, but if ever there was a life goal that meshed with a business goal, a why am I doing this goal, it’s this.
Being zen to me is nothing more than learning to be a good human, the best I can be to myself and to others by allowing us to be.
People are streams, rivers, and cascades drifting, running, and crashing by. They just are.
Accept them, I have to remind myself. Accept myself and keep going, keep learning, growing, and emerging til I can’t.
So much joy in action without too much expectation and contemplation, I believe. “The root of suffering is attachment.” The Buddha knew.