Women are growing more and more tired of the corporate culture.
A culture that demands you leave your 'life' at the door upon entering your office. For some women, the separation between work and family, no longer works.
Still in need of an income, women are turning to direct sales as not only a viable career choice, but as a business choice that allows them to build a business around their family life.
Lynn Bardowski used to dream of spending more time with her family while hitting the pavement in her corporate sales position. It was 24 years ago that Lynn decided to leave her corporate career, a career that she was doing very well in, to build a direct sales business. Lynn overcame fear, failure, and mommy guilt to become a multi-million dollar revenue generating entrepreneur.
Lynn Bardowski is the Million Dollar Party Girl, author of the Amazon best-seller Success Secrets of A Million Dollar Party Girl, and the creator of the Million Dollar Party Girl Entrepreneur Boot Camp.
Lynn stops by today to share her story and to inspire you to rock your inner Visionista.
JB: You were doing well in your corporate sales position that included a shiny BMW when you decided to leave to build your own business. What was it like to finally say good bye to corporate America?
LB: Saying goodbye was both liberating and super scary. There were times when our financial situation was so stressed that I'd wake up thinking we might have to sell the house. Then I'd see my daughter's smiling faces and know I made the right decision. I left my job in June, so one of the first things I did was something I could never do when I was was working full time, take my daughters to the beach on a week day. Watching a 3 and 5-year-old fill up their buckets with sand was one of the best days of my life.
JB: Going from a corporate position to running your own business is not for the faint of heart. What was the beginning stages of building your business like?
LB: To be honest, it was crazy. I kept my full-time job for six months, while building my direct sales biz on the weekend. We had just put my youngest (age 3) daughter, Alyssa, in a pre-school program for a few hours a day, and I can remember the teacher calling me to see what was going on because Alyssa was acting up at school. My husband and I mustered through my hectic schedule knowing it was a temporary situation. Going all-in on my dream forced me to be laser focused on business building activities, and helped me create systems to scale quickly.
JB: Throughout your career, there are always ups and downs that can test your belief in not only yourself, but in your business all together. ou learned early on the power of having people believe in you and your dream. How did this help you build your direct sales business?
LB: I think every woman is tested, no matter what their goals or dreams are. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to limiting beliefs and self-doubt. I learned early on that people I barely knew, like my hairdresser, were more supportive than some family members and friends. It's a fear thing (theirs, not mine). So, I stopped telling the naysayers about my biz and reached out to women who inspired and motivated me, asking for help when I needed it. Attending Conferences and Seminars got me out of my Work-At-Home-Mom "bubble" (and mommy jeans) while creating a network of wing-ladies who boosted up my confidence and belief when "Debbie Doubter" got in my head. She's a real party killer. To this day, I keep a box of all the encouraging cards and thank you notes I've received over the years. When I start to doubt myself, I pull out the box as a reminder of what I've accomplished and the lives I've impacted. Then I dust myself off and get back to work.
JB: Part of your message to new women entrepreneurs is to join a team of Visionistas. What is a Visionista and how can this help propel their business?
LB: I define a Visionista in my book as, "A women that knows who she is, where she's going, and guides her tribe of leading ladies to the top." Visionista became part of my core message because I was looking for a fun word that would inspire women to step into their power, while embracing the responsibility we have to each other's success. Men have always had their boys club, referring and doing business with each other. Women have not. We tend to think "singularly" and don't reach out to ask for what we need or, we call a successful woman a b*tch and comment more on their hair than their ideas. My intention is to give women guilt-free permission to create and communicate their vision, shouting it to the highest rooftops for all to hear so others are inspired to follow. A living example is a start-up I'm involved with, BusinessWomenExperts.com, founded by Michelle Glover. Michelle brought together 10 women who are experts in their fields to provide resources, how-to's and inspiration for women in biz. We're celebrating the launch with a weekend retreat (and some wine) in Colorado this fall. That's how Visionistas get it done.
JB: As a book lover myself, I know the power that books can have on your success. You also share about your love of books and how they helped you get where you're at today. What top 3 books would you recommend to someone starting their entrepreneurial journey?
LB: I'm surrounded by my favorite books, stacking them on shelves, coffee tables, the fireplace mantel, everywhere. I have a big entrepreneur library, and one of the catalysts for writing my book was the realization that almost all the success books I've read over the last 24 years were written by men. Men dominate the Business Section at Barnes & Noble so, I'm going to recommend 3 books written by women.
Melinda Emerson: Become Your Own Boss In 12 Months
Barbara Corcoran: Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 Dollars Into A Billion Dollar Business
Barbara Stanny: Secrets of Six Figure Women
JB: What makes a direct sales business such a great choice for women wanting a better way of life?
LB: Direct Sales Biz is a great choice for women because it's what we do best, catching up with girl friends while shopping for products we love (purses, candles, jewelry, makeup, etc.). Social-selling has become such a hot trend that many non-direct sales businesses are embracing Ladies Night Out events, including Restaurants, Boutiques and Spas. I recently attended a Yoga class that invited vendors in for some shopping and sipping after we got our OM on. Woman wanting a better way of life can start a direct sales business with minimal investment (most are under $100), free business coaching, marketing support and training. Direct Sales is freedom and flexibility at it's best.
JB: Part of direct sales is selling. This is something so many women avoid at all cost. What's funny is that we love to share about the good deals we find while shopping, but when it comes to selling ourselves, fear can step in. What's your top tips for overcoming this fear?
LB: Ah, yes. The selling thing. If I had a penny for every time I heard "But, I don't want to be pushy" I'd be the Billion dollar Party Girl. I have a simple fix to overcome selling-phobia: Stop selling. If you don't like it, stop forcing yourself to do something that doesn't quite feel good. Instead, start SERVING. Focus on how your product or service helps people, and the problems you can solve. Women love to help people and solve problems, we're experts at that.
JB: What advice would you give to women who are ready to launch a business?
LB: I could write a book about this (wink). My advice is to create your vision first, before you start setting goals. Vision inspires you, and people around you, to act. Create goals that will make your vision a reality, breaking it down into 3-5 daily focused habits (also known as activities that make you money). That's the foundation for your business plan. I'm also a big fan of launching your biz with a live event. Imagine the power (and the PR push) of getting all your ideal clients in one room to share your version of what I call, "My train is leaving the station" speech. All aboard! Network (in person and via social media) your butt off, attend Conferences where your ideal client is hanging out and find a tribe of Visionistas who will give you the support and mentoring you need to succeed.