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Posts Tagged ‘enrepreneurship’

Being An Entrepreneur Is Not About Conformity!

March 24th, 2010 12 comments

Absolute conformity seems to be a current hot topic among many NSE leaders these days. The chatter has gotten so loud in fact, that some are sending this message—if you don’t follow their particular system you will fail. You, like so many of us, probably chose to start your business specifically to get away from the herd mentality or perhaps being a slave to a job. In doing so we all freely elected to become entrepreneurs. We wanted more than simply generating an income stream to replace traditional employment. We were looking for rapid wealth creation and were willing to accept the high risks associated with such a venture. To think that if you don’t follow one person’s system means you are destined for failure is pure fallacy.

If there was only one way to do our business it would probably have been discovered and perfected long ago. And if that had happened, the opportunities which attracted us to this business in the first place, would have already dried up. It has always amazed me that some leaders are adamant that it is either their way or the highway when it comes to being successful. Please don’t confuse this with meaning you should ignore the training, mentoring and coaching available from leaders in your organization. (see my post Just Like Having A Set Of Training Wheels) I just believe blind conformity is almost never a good thing. It’s just like having a job, being told when to show up and told what to do.

If there were only one path to success where would new ideas come from? The best ideas, most likely, haven’t even been thought of yet. Compare that same thinking to past innovations. We used to only contact prospects by phone or in person. Should we have forgone email, auto-responders, or websites as additional tools to aid in business building? What about today’s social networking? Or what about Craig Bryson’s Vugrid technology that is going to again fundamentally change the way we do the business? The core of what we do to create a business network hasn’t changed during our 13 years and probably never will. That is simply to invite, present, enroll, train and duplicate the process as many times as required to help yourself and others in your organization reach their goals. Even as those fundamentals remain the same, the approaches and methods for how those steps are accomplished have and will continue to evolve.

One of our mentors, Dennis Clifton, compares following a leader or system to driving down a highway. You don’t want to stay constantly on the centerline or veer too far to the left or right. You do want to stay within the white line and the yellow line on your side of the road. This means you have the freedom to move around a bit, experimenting as you go, while still remaining true to the course you set and the guidance provided.

To be a truly successful entrepreneur, at some point you will have to become your own leader. Does this mean abandoning what you have learned or what your leadership is doing? Not necessarily. But it does mean that as you mature in your business you will naturally want to test new ideas and innovate.

Nu Skin’s CEO, Truman Hunt, recently commented—“I have come to believe that this business is truly the ultimate test of entrepreneurial desire, creativity, leadership, ambition, tenacity, and courage.” He went on to say —“You are truly the world’s most incredible entrepreneurs—leaders who laugh at rejection, overcome all odds, never surrender, and have fun while doing it.”

Does that sound like conformity to you?

Are You Playing The Layoff Lottery?

February 12th, 2010 4 comments

lottery_ticket_2 You know American workers are in bad shape when a low-paying, no-benefits job is considered a sweet deal. This situation has been building for years and isn’t likely to improve anytime soon, if ever. The forecast for the next five to 10 years: more of the same, with paltry pay gains, worsening working conditions and little job security.

Economist David Rosenberg sums it up this way:” . . . the reality is that the level of employment today, at 129.5 million, is the exact same level it was in 1999. And, during this 11-year span . . . the working-age population has risen 29 million. Contemplate that for a moment; fully 29 million people competing for the same number of jobs that existed more than a decade ago.”

This affects not only wage earners but highly educated professionals. Today you hear more and more stories about lawyers and MBAs being laid off—individuals who thought that because of their education and experience they would never be out of work. Sadly, it’s just not the case anymore. I know because it happened to me in 2001 while I was working for an Internet consulting firm. When the dot.com bubble burst, I was history. It’s really just a matter of time before it can happen to anyone.

When I read statistics like these I have to wonder why more people aren’t jumping at the opportunity to create and control their own financial security by starting a business like Nu Skin, even if it’s part-time. Maybe it’s because it takes a big leap of faith and determination to break free from the traditional workplace. One thing you can be sure of—your finances won’t change for the better on their own.

Taking big leaps can be uncomfortable and even scary. Here are some suggestions, if you think a big leap may be what you (or others you know) need:

  • Think about where you want to be in five years. Where would you like to be financially and personally? What is most important to you, and is that reflected in the way you’re living now?
  • Can you get there from here? Are you on a path to get to where you want to be, or are you pretty much stuck? Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes.
  • Consider the possibilities. The instant you say “I can’t do that” or “I won’t consider that,” you’ve cut yourself off from possible solutions. Starting your own business might be a real outside-the-box option that leads to the life you want.

Working for yourself is absolutely where the future is going. It has become the new job security—the only one where the odds are stacked in your favor for writing your own paycheck. If you already have a Nu Skin business now is the perfect time to take massive action, build for your future and stop playing the layoff lottery.

Why Should We Care About the Impact of Our Donations?

January 6th, 2010 No comments

boy_with_vitamealDo you ever wonder whether your charitable donations actually make a difference or for that matter ever reach the intended recipients? Since we’re just coming out of the biggest giving season of the year it’s an appropriate time to explore these questions.

Since 2002 the majority of our charitable contributions have gone to Nu Skin’s Nourish the Children initiative (NTC) through VitaMeal donations. From the very beginning, a big part of Nu Skin’s mission has been to improve people’s lives. While striving to fulfill that mission, NSE has always promoted social responsibility, and giving back as core values. Nourish the Children and VitaMeal fit those criteria extremely well.

But how do we know for sure that NTC is truly making a difference and reaching those in need? Here are six reasons that immediately come to mind. Undoubtedly, there are more.

Product rather than cash – By donating product rather than cash, we know exactly how our contributions are being used and know that our donation is making a critical difference in the lives of children.

Destination reports – One of the benefits of making donations to NTC is that you automatically receive regular destination reports showing you where the donations are going and who’s receiving them. None of the other charities we contribute to have ever done this.

Four Star rated distribution partner – Virtually every country in the world has hungry children, but VitaMeal donations are delivered to places where children need it most. Feed The Children (primary distribution partner) is well suited to support NTC as one of the few charities that deal mostly with non-cash donations. CharityNavigator.org gives Feed the Children four stars.

Contributing to self-sufficiency – NSE has financed locally-owned and operated VitaMeal plants in Madilisto, Africa and Jixi, China providing both food and jobs for hundreds of local people. These plants make it much more efficient and less costly to provide VitaMeal to needy children in Malawi, China, Indonesia, North Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. Combined these plants produce well over a million meals a month.

170 million meals donated to date – Nearly 100,000 malnourished children are receiving highly nutritious food everyday through VitaMeal which is designed to support good health and reduce illness. Those receiving VitaMeal include children in China, Southeast Asia, AIDS orphans in Malawi, the Southwest US and victims of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami in Indonesia.

As Nu Skin distributors we all have the option to contribute to NTC. Support can be in the form of personal donations or through innovative social enterprise where you regularly generate donations as part of your business. So the next time you wonder whether your charitable donations are making a difference you only have to look to Nourish the Children for the answer. For us it is very gratifying to be NTC Ambassadors and to know without a doubt that our donations are indeed having a positive and measurable impact.

My Top Five Reasons To Be Grateful

December 12th, 2009 No comments

2009_on_beach_2This time of year makes it very easy for me to stop and reflect on the bounty of riches in my life. Within the span of one week last month I celebrated a wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving and my birthday. Those three events alone give good cause for thanks. But my list certainly doesn’t stop there. The focus of this post is on the gifts our Nu Skin business provides and doesn’t include the abundance of other reasons to be grateful—such as having a beautiful, loving wife, wonderful family and friends, and good health.

For me there are always more than five reasons to be grateful and my list is constantly expanding. But for today, here are my top five.

1. The freedom to be an entrepreneur.
We are so fortunate to live in a country where choosing to be an entrepreneur and owning your own business is possible. Think about that for a minute. If you decide this is the course you want to take, to write your own paycheck and control your family’s destiny that’s exactly what you can do. There are many places in the world where this is not the case. With NSE they even do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. They provide the major capital necessary to operate your business. (products, research and development, employees, inventory, billing, shipping, on and on) Very few of us could ever amass the capital to do all of this on our own. With our business it takes as little as a few hundred dollars to make it happen yet you have the power and backing of a billion dollar company to call your very own. That is truly priceless and we will always be thankful for that opportunity.

2. Having a rock solid company to partner with.
All too often when people start a business they are focused intently on the short term goal of making money—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you truly want to build a long-term business, one that can last a lifetime and can be passed on to future generations, then it becomes very important to partner with a company that exhibits sound financial and ethical practices. NSE will most certainly be around for the long haul and has without a doubt illustrated these attributes throughout its first 25 years. Here are two extremely relevant examples that I’m sure you will appreciate. Commission checks to distributors have never been paid late and not one single commission check has ever failed to clear the bank. That’s a trustworthy performance to say the least! Clearly, because of this unshakable foundation, NSE will be around for as long as we choose to partner with them. And that is just like having money in the bank.

3. The capacity to compound income through leverage.
This concept is one of the key attractions to a Network Marketing business model. Our business is based on the principle of a lot of like minded individuals coming together to form a network where everyone does a little bit each. (we are super thankful for each and every distributor that is or has been part of our organization) It is through this approach that every business owner has the potential to grow a networked organization from just a few to several thousand individuals. And one of the most attractive and powerful aspects of this business is the ability to leverage the individual successes of a large group of people which can result in the generation of significant income. The beautiful part is that the power of leverage is available to everyone, regardless of background, education or previous success.

4. Ability to help others by giving back.
From the very beginning the success of our business has been based on the principle of giving back to others. Whether it was sharing the business opportunity, products, or mentoring and training new distributors the central premise is improving our life as a result of finding ways to improve the lives of others. NSE’s mission to be a Force for Good in the world (including the Nourish the Children initiative) has provided additional ways for us to give back. It is so rewarding to be involved with this company and to be in a business that cares just as much about its social responsibility as it does profits.

5. Living the lifestyle of our dreams.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution people have been trading their time for money. In exchange all they had to do was show up on time, do what they were told and not ask questions. Life was to be lived and enjoyed after you completed your 40 year plan (sometime around age 65). We are so grateful that this business enables us to live our lives to the fullest each and every day. We don’t use alarm clocks. There is no 9 – 5, five day week working to make someone else wealthy. Laura and I get to spend our days and nights together. We can vacation and travel at our convenience. We work with whom we want, when we want. We work from the comfort of our home (often in our pajamas) with zero time spent stuck in traffic commuting. We can literally operate our business from anywhere in the world. We don’t directly trade our time for money because we are leveraged—income continues to be generated even while we are playing. And that is an exceptional way to live life.

As we wind down 2009 and head into 2010 take time to reflect and write down your own top five reasons to be thankful. Accept that you may not have accomplished all you desire and begin now to take the actions required to make those unfulfilled dreams reality. Your gratitude list will more than likely be a lot longer than you might have expected and we’d love to hear what’s on your list.

Are Conventions Key To Your Success?

October 30th, 2009 No comments

convention_09 Why is attending a company convention (whether global or regional) such a meaningful event for distributors? What do you reallygain from investing your time, energy and money? Every time I attend a Nu Skin convention I think back to my first one and the impact it had on my life and our business. At the time I wasn’t actively involved in our business and, quite frankly, was not 100% sold on the validity of Network Marketing. What I experienced during three short days in March of ’98, however, would change my attitude and belief forever.

If you were to survey distributors and ask them to identify a single, defining point at which belief in their business venture became locked-in; more often than not they would point to their first convention. If you’ve not been to a convention this may be difficult to fully understand. If you’ve experienced a convention then you will certainly identify with what I’m talking about. Perhaps the reason this occurs is because it’s the first time most of us get to experience the full breadth and depth of the company. It becomes more than just words. You get to see, feel and touch so much of the business. It becomes real. A real part of you and your belief in what your business is all about.

One of the key factors in building a successful business is having an unquestioned belief in what you’re doing, the company you’ve invested in and the people you’re associated with. From personal experience, that is exactly what happened to me. Up to the point of attending my first convention I wasn’t sure that NSE was in fact a legitimate business. That the company behind the products was solid, or one that would be around for the long haul. In essence a company and business you could trust. One you could put complete confidence in so you never had to think twice about it ever again.

Conventions are like no other experience in our business. They give you the opportunity to spend intensive time with distributors from your team, from around your country and in this year’s case from around the world. You get to have face time with a wealth of leaders whom you might not otherwise ever get the chance to meet. Simply put, you get to spend time associating with the most successful people within NSE.

The spirit of convention is to learn as much as you can—getting an incredible infusion of knowledge. In fact, most new distributors come away having compressed their business learning curve by six months or more into a single weekend. I always come away with a wealth of fresh ideas, excitement and energy as well as a renewed sense of direction and purpose. The goal, of course, is then to return home and teach as many others as we can everything we learned.

The convention that just ended was like no other in our 12 years with NSE. I have never seen such enthusiasm and excitement. Products were literally flying off the shelves in an unbelievable frenzy clearly indicating that the environment and opportunity in front of us is unprecedented. Historically, the common denominator amongst those who achieve the greatest levels of success with NSE is that they always attend conventions. That piece of information alone is reason to never miss one—knowing that you can tip the success scale in your favor by simply being there. If you missed this convention, for whatever reason, make the commitment to yourself now to never, ever miss one again. I know I certainly won’t.

Become a Successful Entrepreneur

October 17th, 2009 2 comments

asian_coupleOver the last 20 years, while building two businesses (Nu Skin and an art gallery) I’ve had the good fortune to not only learn about but to develop the skills required to become a successful entrepreneur. For most distributors this is their first experience with owning a business and they always ask (rightfully so) what it takes to be successful. Unfortunately, there is no magic checklist. There are simply too many variables that can affect the outcome of any venture. What I have learned, through experience, is that there are certain key characteristics that will stack the odds in your favor of achieving both your personal and financial goals while developing your entrepreneurial skills.

Here’s my personal checklist. I encourage you to take the time to honestly answer each of these and gauge exactly where you are in your journey. Write down your strengths and list areas you need to work on. Then seek out and work with those who have the knowledge and experience to assist you.

1. Do You Have Confidence In Yourself? In other words, do you truly believe in yourself? Do you believe you are capable of accomplishing anything you really set your mind to doing? Do you honestly believe that you can muster the passion to burst through obstacles and reach your goals? If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’re doomed.

Each day push yourself to do just a little bit more than you are comfortable with. Before you know it, you’ll be doing things that were once well beyond what you ever thought possible! Remember, no matter how successful a person may be today, they probably started out exactly where you are. If you believe you can, then you have all the confidence in the world.

2. Do You Have Confidence In Your Venture? Ask yourself if you really, truly believe in what it is you are doing. If you’re not totally committed to your venture, keep looking until you find one that you feel ready to fully commit to. Then focus on it day and night. If you’re not totally committed, don’t even start!

3. Are You Willing To Make Sacrifices? As an entrepreneur, you have to realize that nothing in your life will resemble what the rest of the world considers “normal.” You’ll be working early in the morning well before the rest of the working world, and you’ll still be there when it seems everybody else is plunked down in front of their television for the night.

But that’s the essence of a successful entrepreneur. You have to be willing to go beyond what is considered normal. You have to be willing to break the rules. I’ve always believed that if you follow the crowd, you’re never going to get any further ahead than the crowd, but if you make your own way, you’ll often find yourself in places the crowd will never see.

Just be sure that your significant other understands that you will be making sacrifices, and make them at your expense, not theirs!

4. Are You A Decision Maker? If you needed some piece of information, would you know how to get it? Would you know how to get it fast, without wasting your time or other people’s time? In other words, if you had a decision to make, would you get the facts fast and make the decision, or are you a person who procrastinates forever until the mere fact that you’ve not made a decision actually becomes your decision?

Like it or not, there are going to be a lot of decisions to be made in your entrepreneurial career, so get in the habit of getting the facts together fast and making an informed decision. Realize that every decision you make, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time will affect your future in some way. When in doubt, go with your gut instinct and always do what’s right!

5. Can You Recognize Opportunity? If your business were to totally fall apart tomorrow, would you look at it as a loss, or as an opportunity to rebuild, improve, and grow? One of the most interesting facts that I have found in entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years is that they do see opportunity in everything! No matter what it is, they ask questions about it. They wonder if there’s a better way, and if they think there is, they either find it themselves or seek out somebody who can help them find it.

Opportunity is everywhere and with the abundance of new products and technologies available to us, there’s never been so much opportunity knocking at our feet! If you can see it too, then you are a true entrepreneur!

6. Do You Have High Levels Of Energy And Stamina? To be a successful entrepreneur, you’re going to need boundless energy and stamina. If you’re not eating right, exercising, and keeping stress to a minimum, chances are you’re not doing all you can to maximize your energy.

Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally will ensure you have all the energy you’ll need to take advantage of each opportunity as they present themselves to you. A successful entrepreneur can never have too much energy because you never know when opportunity will knock!

7. Are You Willing To Lead By Example? You’re not going to be able to do it all yourself. If you can’t lead, nobody will ever follow you. As president of your business and leader of your downline, your distributors will look to you for guidance and support. Being a leader means becoming a true success.

Now that you know what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, the only thing stopping you is—hmmmm—I can’t think of anything either. So go for it!