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Here’s to Your Success! DSEF’s Latest Resources

Here’s to Your Success! DSEF’s Latest Resources

Every direct selling company knows that the foundation of a successful salesforce is a successful mindset. Teaching new business owners how to overcome challenges and turn self-doubt into positive, actionable plans is critical for building thriving businesses. So, too, is learning how to properly balance work and family life. It’s one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face—and one that can quickly derail even the most promising business venture.

To benefit small business owners, including your salesforce, the Direct Selling Education Foundation has made two new tools available: the Creating Your Success Mindset e-book and the Balancing Work & Life PowerPoint series.

Creating Your Success Mindset

New E-book:

What does it take to build a successful, thriving business?

One word: mindset.

Successful business owners know that responding to each and every situation that comes along does not guarantee success. What does is setting each day’s agenda so that it corresponds with your goals. Successful business owners choose the tasks and the direction most in line with their goals. And if you want your business to succeed, you need to do the same.

How? DSEF has produced Creating Your Success Mindset, a free downloadable e-book that will help your salesforce with this process. The activities included in the workbook are designed to help your salesforce focus their business efforts in the right direction. Readers will learn how to:

  • Define your why
  • Tune out negativity and committing to positive self-talk
  • Make a plan
  • Build in accountability
  • Use visualizations
  • Make a plan for when you fall
  • Focus on excellence instead of perfection

Balancing Work & Life:

New PowerPoint Modules

DSEF partnered with the Direct Selling Association to create four narrated PowerPoint modules that help small business owners effectively manage their day-to-day personal and business activities. The Balancing Work & Life modules include:

Managing All Aspects of Your Life
If you don’t take care of each part of your life, you run the risk of burning out, putting yourself and your family at risk, creating more stress, and not achieving your dreams. So how do you create a work-life balance that allows you to achieve all your personal and professional goals? In this module, you’ll learn how to manage your life through self-assessments and goal-setting in health, career and professional development, spiritual growth, relationships and family, finances and responsibilities, and fun and personal development.

Getting & Staying Organized
Clutter and disorganization, ineffective systems, bad planning, and self-sabotage—they can prevent you from building a strong foundation for your business. The key to combating them is to get and stay organized so you will be less overwhelmed and more focused and creative. In this module, you’ll learn tips on how to deal with clutter, create effective systems, allocate time appropriately, and fend off those nagging doubts and fears.

Working Successfully from Home
As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to build your business from the comforts of your home. But are you prepared to tackle the challenges that come along with that? Can you effectively set boundaries between your home life and work life? In this module, you’ll learn the pros and cons of maintaining separate personal and business space, working around family members, establishing boundaries, and avoiding distractions and temptations while working at home.

Reducing Stress and Building Resilience
Running a business is not easy. In fact, it can be extremely stressful at times. And stress can have a tremendous impact on both your personal and professional success. It can lower your immunity, create poor moods, and lead to strokes and heart attacks. The key minimizing stress is to maintain a good level of health and energy and learn the necessary skills for coping with change and overcoming problems. In this module, you’ll learn stress relievers and how to build a resilience roadmap to deal with life’s demands.

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program: Start Spreading the Word!

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program: Start Spreading the Word!

At the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship’s (NACCE) annual conference in Chicago last month, Robin Diamond and Nancy Laichas introduced DSEF’s new community college curriculum—the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP)—to an enthusiastic group of nearly 500 community college administrators, instructors, and staff. The Pampered Chef’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus Doris Christopher gave DSEP a ringing endorsement from the stage during her conference keynote address, calling it a “win-win-win” for community colleges, for the direct selling industry, and for the country’s 16 million direct sellers.

“The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is an acknowledgment from the higher education community of the important entrepreneurial contribution of direct selling,” says DSEF Executive Director Charlie Orr. “The Direct Selling Education Foundation contributes and supports a range of meaningful activities for an ethical marketplace that promotes fairness, economic opportunity, and independence. The same values and influences that drive many individuals to pursue a direct selling entrepreneurial opportunity will motivate them to pursue the education that will bring them even greater success.”

The program—a direct selling curriculum to be offered through community colleges across the United States—provides direct sellers with management and entrepreneurial skills to help them increase their business acumen. Two community colleges will offer the course this month, with more to follow in 2013. Read DSEF’s August newsletter feature for more details.

As community colleges across the country begin to offer DSEP, you can help us spread the word in a variety of ways:

  • Share DSEP’s Facebook page with your field so they have access to the most  up-to-date course information
  • Put us in touch with your salesforce training and development team to collaborate in reaching direct sellers near community colleges offering DSEP
  • Contact us for help in asking your local community college to offer DSEP
  • Share the upcoming course schedule with your company, employees, and salesforce

For any questions about the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program, please contact DSEF Director of Marketing & Communications Nancy Laichas.

Donors Make a Difference: Orville and Heidi Thompson

Donors Make a Difference: Orville and Heidi Thompson

For DSEF, the difference between what we would like to do and what we can do is this: your support.

Scentsy co-owners Orville and Heidi Thompson know this. That’s why they, like so many other industry leaders, are committed to helping the Foundation reach its vision of creating a global marketplace that respects and appreciates direct selling.

In the coming months, we’ll profile those donors who have helped us execute our programs through their corporate and personal financial contributions. You’ll learn why they believe DSEF is important to the success of the industry and, ultimately, your business.

This month we speak to the Thompsons, who in addition to running a growing international party-plan company also serve on the DSEF Board of Directors.

DSEF: How do DSEF programs help Scentsy, its salesforce, and the industry?

Orville: The great benefit of DSEF is the credibility it helps build for all direct selling companies, including Scentsy. Direct selling is ideal for people who want flexible work hours, to control their financial destiny, or to replace income from a job loss. By partnering with organizations like the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the FTC, DSEF not only increases understanding and awareness of direct selling, but it also promotes the industry’s strong commitment to consumer protection and business integrity—and that helps everyone in the industry, Scentsy, and especially our Consultants.

DSEF: What specific programs are you most excited about?

Heidi: We’re especially excited to see the launch of the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program with community colleges this fall. We know a lot of people enter the direct selling industry with no prior business experience, and it can be very intimidating. This new, 30-hour community college course helps new and even experienced direct sellers gain more confidence, learn better strategies for their business, and experience greater success. Having access to this kind of a class at the community college level will open doors for many people to launch a successful small business, while reinforcing that direct selling is not only legitimate, but a preferred way of doing it.

DSEF: What is most rewarding about your Board involvement?

Orville: I believe direct selling solves the business conundrum of our day. Traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores can’t store inventory like online retailers, but online stores can’t build brands effectively. So there’s a challenge that needs to be met. Traditional retail is not efficient, and online retail can’t build brands. Direct selling companies like Scentsy are creating businesses that distribute product as efficiently as online giants like Amazon, yet build brand loyalty through personalized shopping experiences as well or better than any traditional retailer. As a member of the DSEF Board, it’s gratifying to help people see the enormous possibilities of our sales model.

Heidi: By serving on the Board, I know I’m creating awareness of the direct selling opportunity and giving hope to people to reach their personal and financial goals. As just one example, at the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in June, we were proud to support the walkathon which benefited the Dallas chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. We met some great young people who are learning how to be successful entrepreneurs, and there’s no limit to what they can achieve. That’s the best part for me—giving people hope and then watching them achieve their dreams.

DSEF: Why is DSEF support so important?

Orville: For years, direct selling has endured unfair press, prejudice, and misunderstanding—keeping it from the level of acceptance and support it deserves. How else would so many people start their own business and achieve their financial goals without extreme risk and heavy investment? The Direct Selling Education Foundation helps build a strong reputation for our business model by promoting ethical business practices, overcoming misperceptions, and establishing the value of direct selling among traditional thought leaders.

Heidi: I support the Direct Selling Education Foundation because I’ve seen so many examples of the difference direct selling can make in people’s lives. It certainly transformed our lives as entrepreneurs, and we’ve seen it transform our Consultants’ lives as well. The Foundation creates awareness that direct selling can be a great source of income and even a full-time career for many people.

To join the Thompsons in supporting DSEF, donate now.

DSEF’s 3rd Annual Pack a Present Toy Drive Is Just around the Corner!

DSEF’s 3rd Annual Pack a Present Toy Drive Is Just around the Corner!

In just a few weeks, many of you will be packing your bags to head to the Los Angeles area for DSA’s Communications & Marketing Conference (Dec. 5-7). Make sure you leave room in your suitcase for a gift for a child in need. To help make the holidays a little brighter for area kids, The Direct Selling Education Foundation is once again sponsoring “Pack a Present Toy Drive,” this year partnering with the South Bay chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Now in its third year, DSEF’s Pack a Present event is becoming a December tradition for direct selling company and supplier company executives,” said Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director. “I encourage every conference attendee to “Pack a Present,” and help us demonstrate our industry’s giving spirit to the local community.”

DSEF will collect the toys at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, from Dec. 5-7. On Thursday, December 6, Boys & Girls Club representatives will bring a group of children to the hotel to have cocoa and cookies with Santa and receive the gifts.

“The holidays can be a tough time for kids in need,” said Tamara Ingram, DSEF Community Program Manager. “DSEF’s Pack a Present not only provides a memorable experience for the kids who join us for the event, it ensures hundreds of area children will feel the joy of the season.”

DSEF’s Pack a Present event is one of the many ways the direct selling industry gives back to those less fortunate during the holidays. In the past eight years, direct sellers have donated more than $85 million to the TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive, according to Amy Robinson, DSA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive is just one example each year of how direct selling serves as a force for good in our communities, across the country and throughout the world,” Amy said. “DSEF’s Pack a Present provides a heartwarming opportunity for direct selling executives to offer a personal donation, and we’re thrilled that the Foundation is hosting the event at our upcoming Communications & Marketing Conference.”

DSEF wishes to thank Pack a Present’s generous sponsors AmwayTeam National and 4Life, and extend our special appreciation to John Killacky of Bartha for portraying Santa Claus at this year’s event.

While donated gifts may be for children of any age, gifts for teens are especially needed. Cash gifts are also welcome and all gifts should be in their original packaging and not gift-wrapped.

If you haven’t yet done so, you may register here for DSA’s Communications & Marketing Conference. For more information about DSEF’s Pack a Present Toy Drive, or to inquire about available sponsorships, contact Tamara Ingram.

DSEF & CBBB: Facebook Wants To Hear About Phishing Scams

DSEF & CBBB: Facebook Wants To Hear About Phishing Scams

By Amy Fowler

Facebook Security just announced a new way to report phishing attempts to the company. Phishing is a way for scammers to steal your personal information, including username, password, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and more.

If you see or receive a phishing email or message, then forward the information Facebook Security encouraged consumers to report these malicious messages:

By providing Facebook with reports, we can investigate and request for browser blacklisting and site takedowns where appropriate. We will then work with our eCrime team to ensure we hold bad actors accountable. Additionally, in some cases, we’ll be able to identify victims, and secure their accounts.

BBB has identified several common phishing scams related to Facebook, including:

Friend in Distress Scam
Facebook users may receive a message in their inbox from a friend saying that they are in a dire situation — such as stranded in a foreign country — and need money wired to them. The recipient of the message doesn’t realize that their friend’s account has been hacked and that the message was actually sent by scammers. If the Facebook user does wire money to the scammers, they have no way of recovering the money after they learn that their friend is actually safe and sound.
Phishing Friends
You see a provacative post on a friend’s wall or receive a personal message from a friend enticing you to click a link to watch a shocking video or read an unbelievable story. You click on the link and are asked whether you are 18 or are told you must agree to certain conditions. When you agree, you are actually allowing scammers access to your account or computer. Sometimes the link includes a computer virus or other malware.
Viral Wall Post
This also involves provocative messages enticing readers to click a link. However, the end result is that the post you fell victim to is posted to your wall for your friends to see and proliferate.

In addition to reporting any such scams to Facebook Security’s new email address, BBB offers the following tips to stay safe on social media sites:

    • Be extremely wary of messages from friends or strangers that direct the user to another website via a hyperlink.
    • Before wiring money to a friend in a jam, users should attempt to contact their friend outside of the social networking site, such as over the phone or via e-mail to confirm the situation. If that’s not possible, BBB recommends asking them a question that only they would know the answer to.
    • Users should always make sure their computer’s operating system and antivirus and firewall software are up to date.
    • Social networking sites are about sharing information, but BBB recommends that users take steps to keep important information private, espeically details like contact information, vacation dates and other information scammers can use to trick you, your family or friends.
    • Be selective when choosing friends. While a user might not want to be rude, BBB recommends that it’s best to decline a request for friendship if the user doesn’t actually know the person.

For more tips and information, visit Watch Your Buck, the local blog for BBB Serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin.

DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.

On Board with DSEF: Rigoberto Reyes

On Board with DSEF: Rigoberto Reyes

Each month we’ll visit with a member of DSEF’s Board of Directors to learn how their experience and expertise helps the Foundation build trust in the market place by standing up for consumers and championing ethical entrepreneurship.

This month we visit with Rigoberto Reyes, who works for the Department of Consumer Affairs, L.A. County, and is President of the California Consumer Affairs Association (CCAA), which promotes consumer protection for Californians through education, collaboration and advocacy. Rigo serves on DSEF’s Board of of Directors and is a member of its Consumer Committee, which helps to build a broader understanding of direct selling’s channel of distribution and partners with consumer advocates, educators and public policy leaders to ensure the direct selling voice is heard throughout the global marketplace.

DSEF: How did you become involved with DSEF?

RR: I met Bettie Smith at a consumer event and heard her talking about the great work DSEF does on behalf of consumers and the direct selling industry. We have been continuously working together for the past 10 years. DSEF has been a terrific partner.

DSEF: What do you feel is DSEF’s value to the public and the direct selling industry?

RR: Everything we do has to do with consumer protection. I think the value of working with DSEF, and the DSA, is helping them to understand some of the concerns and issues that pop up from time to time, and working with them to put in place some policies. We encourage them to fix any problems that come up dealing directly with customers. We always say that it is a lot easier to prevent an issue than to have to deal with it down the road. I think DSEF is instrumental in working with the industry in strengthening consumer protection, ethics and policies in general. In the end, I think it is a win-win situation, certainly for a company in being recognized as treating customers fairly. For those companies that go out of line, we remind them that long-term business&#8211customer relationships need to be built on trust and definitely on fair treatment.

DSEF: What specifically does your organization do to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses?

RR: The L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs is a government agency and the issues really don’t change. We see companies that are deceptive, either through misrepresentation or omitting information. From deceptive practices to outright fraudulent activities, our department helps consumers and helps good companies remediate disputes, when remediation is appropriate. When we see some fraud pattern, or when we see companies that have to change the way they do business in order to do it legally, we do investigations—whether for civil or criminal charges—that are then brought to the attention of the district attorney’s office, the attorney general and federal agencies. We feel that that type of service helps the good companies as much as the victims who are being impacted by bad operations out there.

DSEF: How important is it for business leaders to support and promote consumer rights?

RR: I think it is critical. Any business leader who has a long-term vision for his or her company and who does not have a strong consumer protection plan in place is not in a good place. What is good for the company is obviously good for the consumer. When you have strong business leaders who create an industry that is known for fairness all around, that creates business growth, it creates customer trust and, in the long term, it creates strong success for anyone in that industry. When the big players in an industry don’t promote or advocate for good business practices and consumer protection, eventually the whole industry gets tainted and anyone who goes into it, long-term, is in trouble.

DSEF: What new challenges do businesses face in the online consumer marketplace?

RR: One of the big challenges agencies like ours face is managing customer expectations. Consumers expect almost immediate fixing of problems. For instance, if you have a dispute or complaint online, the consumer expects that the minute he enters the complaint somebody is going to resolve it or someone is going to get back with him—someone is going to give him the resolution he needs. We see it here. Consumers submit complaints and the next day they are calling for status. In the old days, 30 days to 60 days was the window, the expectation. I think companies that are not responding quickly are going to lose that customer, and then the customer is going to go on and tell others, and eventually the bad service will snowball when the consumer starts passing around information.

DSEF: What specific challenges do you see affecting direct sellers in the marketplace?

RR: I do not think they are any different than your regular stores in the sense that everyone is going online. Everyone has to capitalize on the new technologies and certainly the efficiencies that online selling and interaction create. However, I think that opens doors for possible friction, especially in regard to privacy. The collection, the selling and the safeguarding of consumer information is an issue. Companies need to ensure that information is being used for the originally intended purpose. For instance, if I go to a company’s website and sign up for a survey and they ask for my personal information, I want to be secure in knowing that information is being used for what I expected, what I authorized. I think that is becoming a major issue, and it needs to be worked out because it is not going to go away. We have to look for solutions and we have to work together to implement those solutions. At the end of the day, consumers will get a better deal and will be more inclined to do business with whomever is selling them goods and services.

DSEF: In what ways can DSEF and the industry further strengthen relationships with consumer regulators nationally and globally?

RR: I think one way is for DSEF and the industry, who are on the front lines working with consumers, to look for ways to be more responsive, to look for ways to address issues and try to anticipate those things before regulators have to get involved. It would be really helpful for companies to report to the appropriate authorities and try to work together. I think when it really gets out of control is when a problem comes up and they do not do anything about it, or worse, try to hide it. When the government comes in and it becomes a big fight, customers are the ones who get harmed in the process.

Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur: DSEF Launches Community College Course for Direct Sellers

Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur: DSEF Launches Community College Course for Direct Sellers

When Thirty-One Gifts Independent Director Lisa Sloan enrolled in DSEF’s Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at Cayuga Community College last fall, she had a team of two and looked at her direct selling venture as a hobby. Today, eight months after participating in the pilot phase of the 30-hour course, her perception has changed. “You know what? I’m an entrepreneur now,” Lisa says. “I remember sitting in that class and having a ‘wow’ moment. ‘I’m a professional. This is a business.’ I have carried back that excitement from the class to my team (which now numbers 50) and they are all feeling like entrepreneurs now.”

This fall, community college classrooms across the country will have the opportunity to help direct sellers like Lisa unleash their inner entrepreneurs.

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP), a 10-module, non-credit course, focuses on the entrepreneurial skills that are both universal to small businesses and specific to direct selling. Its aim is to build the business skills of direct sellers by introducing them to the fundamental components of small business management and entrepreneurship, including marketing, finance, legal issues, planning and ethical business practices.

The course was developed in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE)—an organization dedicated to helping community colleges nationwide link their traditional role of workforce development with entrepreneurship—and represents DSEF’s years of relationship-building and trusted programming.  NACCE only aligns itself with organizations that share its commitment to teaching ethical entrepreneurship, and in April 2010 it approached DSEF with a proposal to create a direct selling curriculum.

“NACCE was hearing from its members—instructors of entrepreneurship—that direct sellers were coming to them asking for entrepreneurship classes,” says DSEF Program Director Robin Diamond. “And NACCE said ‘We really don’t have the right thing for them. We feel like there is an opportunity here.’ So the request bubbled up from the market; there was a groundswell because the economy had changed.  People needed options and opportunities.”

Robin assembled a talented group of individuals—including staff, industry executives, curriculum experts and volunteers—to take the program from an idea, through a successful pilot phase and finally to the upcoming nationwide rollout.

NACCE couldn’t be more pleased with the pilot results and the potential for future success. “I was thrilled with the outcome,” says Ron Thomas, NACCE Board Chair and President of Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minn. (a pilot site for the curriculum). “I think we hit a homerun with this one. It was pretty clear when you look at a $30 billion-dollar industry, with nearly 16 million people involved in direct selling, that there was a niche. If we could help remove barriers to help make direct sellers more profitable and stay in the business longer, then we would be helping not only them but the organization and, more importantly, the entire U.S. economy. We are glad to be part of this.”

Lisa was so intent on being part of the pilot phase that she drove an hour to and from her home in Syracuse to Auburn, New York, each week to take the classes. And it paid off. “The program truly gave me confidence to be in direct sales,” she says. “It taught me time management. I was running my business 24 hours a day before, and the class taught me how to set office hours, and really helped me increase my productivity with my family, with my team, with everything.”

One of the major components of the program is its focus on ethics. For Lisa, learning how direct sellers uphold the Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics was a big part of her learning experience. “I had no idea what ethics even was before I took the class,” she says. “I was able to teach my team—which was only two people at the time—that direct selling could be a really positive experience if you followed the ethics rules.”

An added benefit of the program for Lisa was the relationships she built with her fellow direct sellers. “Networking wasn’t part of the curriculum, but I had the opportunity to meet other direct salespeople. We started our own Facebook group and we held each other accountable to everything we had learned in the class—and everyone has become very successful with their business since the class.”

Robin, who on behalf of the Foundation has long worked with the academic, small business and entrepreneurship communities, says the curriculum helps participants engage their inner entrepreneur. “That is a state of mind—being entrepreneurial in your work, in your life, thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur, as an innovator—that is what we are doing here. We’re helping direct sellers think of themselves as entrepreneurs and succeed at their businesses.”

Ron says whether you’re a direct seller or a small business owner, you still need the same skills. “You are going to need to know how to market, you are going to need to know how to manage your books and you’re going to need to know how to communicate with people,” he says. “So all of those learning modules are part of this program, as well as they should be for any kind of business startup.”

For Robin, the entire experience of creating the curriculum is a victory for the direct selling industry, the Foundation and the community college community. “It’s a win for community colleges to have an entrepreneurship course to offer to a new audience—direct sellers; it’s a win for the direct selling companies, their salesforces and their customers; and it’s certainly a win for DSEF—producing an entrepreneurial curriculum is a perfect example of the Foundation’s ongoing work to champion the ethical business practices not only to help direct sellers realize success, but also to develop a wider understanding of the industry among business leaders and educators.”

On the Road to Success: A Resource for You

On the Road to Success: A Resource for You

Starting a direct selling or small business is a lot like driving a car. You are in complete control of where you are headed and how fast—or slow—you get to your destination.

But on those days when the road gets a little bumpy and unfamiliar, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a road map to help navigate through those roadblocks that can cause your business to stall?

Well, guess what? There is.

DSEF has added another tool to its rich archive of resources to help small business owners implement innovative ideas to take their businesses to the next level: the Business Owner’s Road Map to Success, a free, downloadable ebook.

The Foundation continuously provides informative and helpful content on its blog that offers direct sellers insight on a variety of topics, from finance and ethics to sales and personal development. Those blog posts form the basis of the 53-page ebook.

“The DSEF blog posts collected in the Business Owner’s Roadmap to Success reflect the Foundation’s commitment to championing ethical entrepreneurship and standing up for consumers on behalf of the direct selling industry,” says Nancy Laichas, DSEF Director of Marketing & Communications. “This free e-book gives direct sellers—and any small business owner—actionable techniques to increase their confidence, reach their goals, deliver outstanding customer service and operate with the highest of ethics.”

Jennifer Fong, the Founder of Jen Fong Media LLC, worked with her team to create the ebook, which was made available in May through DSEF’s Facebook page.

“We looked at all of the great content that DSEF had been putting out, because there is so much that business owners can use to build their businesses,” says Fong, whose company manages DSEF’s social media presence. “We wanted to put it together in a package that would make it easy to take to the field.”

The Foundation’s goal was to help entrepreneurs, including direct sellers, learn the skills necessary to become successful small business owners, and provide seasoned veterans with techniques and ideas to help them grow their businesses. The ebook offers success tips for everything a small business owner needs to master—from business planning and ethical selling to creating a success mindset. Sections include:

  • Do What You Love
  • Business Planning
  • Targeting and Identifying Your Customers
  • Finding Prospects and Customers
  • Ethical Selling and Marketing Yourself
  • Generating Leads
  • Leading a Team
  • Success Mindset

“The response has been tremendous,” Fong says. “We’ve had a ton of people download it and people call us to tell us they love it.”

Leigh Bordelon, Field Training Specialist at Shaklee Corporation, is one of those people who found the ebook extremely helpful. Bordelon, who teaches Shaklee Independent Distributors how to market their businesses online and use back-office tools, incorporated the ebook into her training.

“I found it easy to understand and easy to implement,” says Bordelon. “My audience is, for the most part, new to any form of technology, even the computer itself. So they can use this book to take specific steps to build their businesses and reputations online.”

Coletta Haskin, a long-time Shaklee distributor, says the ebook helped her improve her leadership skills.

“I learned that, in spite of my mothering spirit (wanting to help them rather than letting them go), I may be holding them back,” says Haskin. “The ‘Leading a Team’ section reinforced what I needed to do years ago, which was to delegate the task so their reliance is not totally on me. Yes, be there for them, help them, show them, and say now it’s your turn.”

Learning to challenge her team was another tip Haskin picked up from the ebook. “I have challenged them to think outside of the box with Bold Goals and Dreams,” she says. “They might have been fearful in sharing them, but each member was made accountable for what they really wanted. When the team member accomplished their goal, the whole team would get excited.”

Haskin also liked that she could show her distributors that they don’t have to run a blog themselves, but could partner with several bloggers and write a single article every so often to drive traffic to their retail sites. “That takes a lot of pressure off of a distributor so they can continue to focus on their core income-producing activities,” she says.

“I learned for myself so many easy ideas to help distributors find even one marketing idea that ‘fits’ for them. This ebook will build confidence in our distributors because you’ve made it so easy to understand and follow,” Haskin says.

If you feel like you are spinning your wheels in regard to generating new ideas for your business, download the Business Owner’s Road Map to Success ebook today.

DSEF Welcomes John Parker, New Chairman of the Board

DSEF Welcomes John Parker, New Chairman of the Board

John Parker is used to being in situations that are a little scary and uncomfortable, whether it is surfing the world’s oceans or spending several years overseas in a completely different culture.

What he likes about those situations are the challenges posed—the process of getting through them, to him, is the ultimate reward.

This month, Parker, Vice President and Chief Sales Officer for Amway, will take on another challenge as the new Chair of the DSEF Board of Directors: to guide the Foundation as it works with its many partners to execute programs that promote ethical entrepreneurship and champion consumers rights on behalf of the industry.

“The DSEF does so much in terms of bringing credibility and understanding about our industry to key influencers,” says Parker, who is also a member of the Direct Selling Association Board of Directors. “By building those relationships with individuals and establishing partnerships with some really respected organizations, it creates an environment in which we can have others tell our story in a compelling way and speak for us in times of crisis. I think there is just a lot of power to that.”

Parker assumes his new position with a focus on a few key initiatives, such as the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program, a new community college curriculum developed in partnership with NACCE (National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship), and the CBBB  (Council of Better Business Bureau) program, which helps DSEF spread the message of the direct selling industry’s commitment to ethics and trust in the marketplace.

Parker would also like to expand the global relevance of DSEF, which already successfully supports consumer welfare globally through such programs as APEC /CEPI (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Consumer Education and Protection Initiative). From his extensive international experience, Parker knows that international markets could benefit from a variety of DSEF programs.

Charlie Orr, Executive Director of DSEF, thinks Parker’s knowledge and experience will be a great asset to the Foundation and its Board. “He brings both a domestic and global perspective,” says Orr.  “And he knows and respects the distributor mindset as well as anybody in our industry.”

Parker’s knowledge of the distributor mindset comes from nearly two decades of working with Amway distributors around the world.  Parker joined the company in 1993 as a Distributor Relations Sales Manager and assumed several management roles within the company over the years, including Chief Marketing Officer.

In 2007 he was named President of Amway Japan, where he led all operations for one of Amway’s largest affiliates. “It was a fantastic experience, both personally and professionally,” says Parker. “It was an opportunity to experience a very different culture. I think my children will forever see the world differently. Certainly I will forever see the world differently.”

Parker’s time in Japan provided him with a new global perspective of the industry. “It was interesting to see the challenges the direct selling industry is going through in Japan. Some markets are a little more organized than others, but as a whole the industry has very similar issues around the world,” he says. “I had a better understanding of that within the context of Japan, and now that I’m back here, we’ll be able to support our business and the industry as we try to improve the environment for direct selling in Japan.”

Living in a foreign country was similar to his time spent at the University of Notre Dame, where Parker was a member of the varsity golf team and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “The two experiences are not all that different,” he says. “Being an expat in another country—typically folks are there four or five years—you are thrown into a strange environment with other people going through the same thing at the same time, which is kind of like college. You build these deep relationships quickly and build on the friendships, just like you do in college.”

And just as he sees similarities in those two experiences, Parker also sees a connection between sports—he is an avid surfer and golfer— and the direct selling industry.

“We think about our industry as individual distributors doing their thing—and they are—but it’s also a community, a team environment,” Parker says. “If direct selling were a sport it would be a team sport. because the encouragement, the community and the social dynamic of direct selling make it more than just people selling products and getting compensated for it.

“The relationships are probably the things that make the industry so special,” Parker continues. “And I think that’s true in sports as well. You have a feeling about your friends and your teammates that you carry with you your whole life. I think our industry is very much the same way. We are out building businesses but we are also out building friendships. I think that is a pretty great part of the industry and a pretty special part of life.”

Parker’s new team at DSEF will include two new members to the Board: Orville Thompson, CEO of Scentsy, who will also serve on DSEF’s Executive Committee, and John Wadsworth, President of Morinda Bioactives.

“As we welcome our new Board members, I am looking forward to having their perspective and guidance as we continue to grow our existing signature programs and pursue several new exciting strategic opportunities,” says Orr.

Orr also acknowledged outgoing Board members Heather Chastain (Celebrating Home), Al DiLeonardo (CUTCO/Vector Marketing), Sandy Spielmaker (Amway) and Jim Stitt (CUTCO/Vector Marketing) for their contributions. “I thank them for their service and their support over these last several years,” he says.

DSEF by the Numbers

DSEF by the Numbers

The Direct Selling Education Foundation has a tremendous impact on the way people view the direct selling industry. Since it was founded in 1973, the Foundation has been building strategic partnerships to create educational programs that serve the public, champion ethical entrepreneurship and protect and support consumers.

“It is through our partnerships that DSEF continuously preserves and improves the market climate of trust, which helps direct sellers prosper and thrive,” says Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director.

Here is a look at some of DSEF’s accomplishments over its 39-year history: