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Direct Sales – your own business?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Yep it is true, I was once an ‘independent consultant’ for a popular direct marketing ‘multi-level’ company. Yes ‘multi-level’ because ‘pyramid’ has negative connotations. Now don’t get me wrong, the 3 years I spent with this company helped me in so many ways I cannot even count, it gave me a source of income, gave me insight into business practices (good and bad), taught me sales skills and helped build my confidence dramtically and most importantly, helped me finance the birth of my own company.

So was my multi-level sales experience a waste? Not at all, in fact I would say it was a huge investment in my own education and training for the world of real business. For people looking for something the way I was back in September 2005, I highly recommend it but along with that recommendation comes a few words of wisdom from lessons learn.

#1 – You are a sales person. That’s it. So many multi-level companies entice new recruits with lines like, ‘start your own business’, ‘be your own boss’, etc…  you aren’t. Unless you are selling a product or service that you have developed or are providing, you are a salesperson. You are selling someone else’s product or service for them. There is nothing wrong with being a sales person, just don’t get caught up in the hype. You work for them, no matter the commission or agreement. It’s a job with choice and flexibility, but it is still a job with products and perameters dictated by someone else.

#2 – There is no such thing as easy money. The multi-level sales concept is simple. You buy for A, you sell for C, you keep B. Easy right? Sure…. until you realize how hard sales can be. Buying product from your boss for $3600 and selling it for $7200 in order to profit $3600 sounds awesome. Do it every month – amazing! Do it every week, OMG!!!!  But do you know how and what you have to do to sell that $7200 and sell it over and over again? Are up up for cold calling new potential customers? Are you comfortable hitting up strangers? Can you handle rejection? Do you have the $3600 to buy the product in the first place? Can you survive without the initial investment if you never do sell it? Sales may sound simple, but it is not easy and it is not for everyone.

#3 – They are not your family. I learned this one the hard way. As long as you are selling, you are making money, but you are also making those above you money and those above them money. Do they want you to succeed? Of course they do. Don’t for a second believe that they are wanting it for only your benefit though, they have skin in your game. Know it, respect it. Understand it. And when you step away from sales or change your goals to one that doesn’t meet theirs, don’t begrudge them walking away, their energy needs to focus on the money makers. It’s business, not personal.

#4 – Don’t buy more than you can sell. I know the pressure, ‘With just another $600 in purchases you will get a $20 gift and recognition, even if you don’t need it, buy it, you can always sell it later for $1200 and keep $600 for yourself!!! It’s an investment in your business.’ No, No. It’s not. It is revenue for their business. Their business model does not rely on how much you sell, it relies on how much you BUY. Even if you have $10,000 in product on your shelf, it matters nothing to them, you bought and paid for it.

#5 – Do NOT over extend yourself. That fancy ‘free car’, diamond ring or luxury vacation may seem worth working for (and I am not saying that they aren’t) BUT be careful. What are the true costs of winning that prize? Weigh them. Are yui buying more than you can sell, pressuring people to buy to the point your family avoids you? Are you stretching the truth to sign that new recruit and convince them they can live the dream too? Weigh the true costs of that $5000 vacation you could buy yourself with the same energy differently focused, or that ‘Free Car’ that requires a $500 a month payment or consistent minimum sales you have to squeeze rocks to make. Is it really worth it?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think home sales, direct sales, multi-level sales can be a great stepping stone, a tool to use to better yourself and even a great way to earn some extra cash, but they are NOT a business. They can help you learn about business, can teach you what to do and what not to do but they are not YOUR business.

Tread lightly and remember, if your goal is to one day have a business of your own, learn from others, don’t work for them.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” – Steve Jobs





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Money, money money – must be funny!

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

One of my friends shared this picture on her Facebook page the other day and it inspired me not only to write this blog but to incorporate some personal financial management workshops into our training this year. The attitude of defeatism in this post is disturbing to me and the idea that anyone in my life feels this way makes me sad.

“I have never been given good advice from a non-poor person when it comes to money.”

“Non-poor people have been made to think that they are just somehow naturally good with their money.”

And here is what I have to say about that…

You are who you associate with. If you want to stay poor, ask a poor person how to manage your money. If you don’t want to be poor, find a non-poor person who used to be poor and ask them how they did it. If you assume all non-poor people are looking down their noses at you and you have nothing to learn from them, not only are you mistaken, you are destined to stay exactly where you are.

As a ‘non-poor’ person who used to be dirt poor as in ‘I only have enough money for rent or groceries this month – which do we go without, food or shelter?’ and ‘What happened to the lights? We have no heat.’ kind of poor. As a non-poor person now, let me tell yiu something, if your attitude towards money while you are poor is strictly about survival, you will always be poor. If you think your life will never advance without money or if only you landed a windfall your life would be transformed – you are wrong. Just plain wrong – no sugar coating needed.

Many people in my life believe that where I am now came from an inheritance from my late husband’s estate. Many people are wrong and like too many wrong people, they would rather assume they are right than ask for the truth. It’s just easier. While I have utilized what I was left after his tragedy to help build the company I am so proud of and secure my children’s future education, I was far from poor before his death and financially independent on my own accord.

So how did I do it? How did I go from a single mom trying to survive working as a waitress in the north with no family support to where I am now? I can sum it up in a single word. Attitude. When you change your attitude, all things become possible. Change the defeatism, cynicism and negativity, open your mind to alternatives that you have never even dreamed possible. The difference is in reading, sharing and believing the drivel posted above or reaching out to someone who was where you are and is now where you want to be and asking, “How did you do it and can you help me to do it too?”

If someone asked me that question, here is what I would tell them:

Choose your friends wisely. This includes family. You become the most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Look around you. Are your 5 successful, happy, positive? Are they working towards their goals? Do they make you feel motivated, enthusiastic, supported? Are they they type of people that you would like to be? If not, you need new people. Find people doing and being what you want to be doing and be and spend time with them. Reach out, be proactive. Surround yourself with success. It is a choice. Your choice. ‘A rich man walked into a room with 4 poor people. Soon there were 5.’ Atitudes are contagious. Actively seek success.

Money is a tool. The faster you realize that money will not solve your problems, the closer to success you will be. Money does not buy happiness. If you are unhappy, negative and unfulfilled with $0, you will be the same with $1M. Money is a tool, it buys choice, opportunity and options. You must figure out what your true goal is. ‘Having money’ is not a goal, it may be a means to a goal, a way to help you achieve a goal, but an ultimate goal – nope. Not only will you give up on your journey as you realize no matter what you do you aren’t filling the hole you thought you would, your attitude will sabotage your success. I learned this lesson the hard way – if you want to know more, ask, it is a whole other blog unto itself!

Work smart, not hard. The biggest falacy in that picture above is the last line emboldened at the bottom, ‘Poor people are some of the hardest working, creative, smartest people I have ever met. We wouldn’t survive otherwise.” It’s not inaccurate on its face but it is misleading as it makes the reader believe that hard work is enough, survival is a goal. It’s not. I could have spent 16 hours a day waitressing, busting my ass, working harder in that restaurant than anyone I knew and sometimes I did. You know where all that work would get me? No where. I would survive, but I would never live. At the end of the day I may have a few more dollars to pay a few more bills but that would be it. Working hard is not enough – you have to work smart, with a goal in mind a strategy. I worked my ass off during the day when my son was in school, I found child care – sometimes subsidized, sometimes bartered (I will watch your kid at nght so you can work evenings, you watch mine during the day) – and in those evenings I studied. I worked hard but I also worked smart because I knew that a hard working waitress without an education could never be much more than a hard working waitress. Set a goal, make a plan. It isn’t easy but it IS simple.

Invest in yourself. No one is going to do it for you. There is no social program, no magic wand, no lottery ticket that will change you, your attitude or your life. No knight in shining armour. You have to save yourself Princess and you know what – you CAN do it! Be honest. What are your shortcomings? Do you need education? Math? English? Where are you lacking? Figure them out, if you don’t know, ask. Ask people. Ask employers, mentors, friends and family. Take their feedback and use it. Make a plan to improve where you need and ask for help when you need it. Councilling worked for me because through honest introspection I discovered that my brain didn’t quite function the way other’s did and I had to learn how to communicate effectively. I discovered this quite late in life but it made a world of difference. What do you need? What is holding you back? Take an inventory. And on the opposite side, what are your strengths and how can they work to your advantage on your journey.

Reward yourself and your supporters. No one likes to work for nothing. No one can sacrifice forever – actually some people can but we call them martyrs. Have you ever seen a successful, happy martyr? Me neither. Whether it is big or small, you need rewards for your hard work and effort, so do the people who are helping you along the way. When I was first starting out, trying to rebuild and build a new life, my son and I were on our own. No family, no money. He was 4. I worked 10-12 hour days to come home and study for 4 or 5 at night. Our reward? McDonalds on Saturday mornings. One small coffee, a chocolate milk and an order of fries would give him 2 hours on the play structure before I went back to work. It kept us going all week. As I made myself more valuable to my bosses and got better shifts (which meant better tips) I could take a day off a week. This was a special day. We ordered a small pizza, two cans of pop and watched TV on my bed. VCR movies over and over because I couldn’t afford cable. It made the rest of the week worth it. Today I still rely on the reward system for myself and my family – they sacrifice a lot for me to give the time I do to my company. Today our rewards are bigger, our goals larger and our ‘endgames’ more extreme because we have earned them, they didn’t fall to us, we work for them and when they come – wow. Our rewards are what we look forward to, what makes the work worthwhile. As you reach a goal, find a reward, no matter how small. Mine grew and yours will be too one day.


Ok so that is enough for one blog, I hope that it may help inspire, if not at least help you question where you are and where you want to be. I never stop. I never will. There are more dreams to be had, more dreams to share, more inspiration to find. And always another goal. Always. Never stop – shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars!!!

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Releasing the reins

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to break the rules, I tend to break them alot. The reason being is that opportunities don’t always present themselves at a time that is appropriate. Some things you just have to wing and figure out on the fly – rules be damned because if you don’t, you just may never know what could have been.

And that really is how I make my decisions, I follow my gut and believe in myself. It doesn’t mean that I never make or never will make a mistake or even fall completely flat on my face. I have before and I will again. What I mean is that I believe in my own ability to get back up again so what is the harm in trying? Even if I lose, I will have learned something and that means I cannot ever EVER fail.

That is my philosophy for life, socially, personally and professionally. I have had so much loss, seen so much tragedy and watched so many people reach the end of their lives never having truly lived, that I refuse to do the same. At the end of my days, I will never wonder, ‘What if??’ or have any regrets. There will be no, ‘If only I would have…’ for this girl. No words left unsaid, no chances not taken. (That may not be grammatically correct but it sounds right to me!)

And that is why I tend to break the rules. A Lot.

One of the most fundamental rules of launching a startup is to avoid unneccessary distrations – like launching two new businesses at the same time.  Guess what I did in 2016?

Yep, April 2016 saw the launch of Muck Off! A Cleaning Company – a residential cleaning service operating in the rural parts of Westman. A pet project of mine that was over 1 year in the making just waiting for the opportune time. We started with two part time staff and have now expanded to 6 full time (30+/wk) staff with benefits and wages well above minimum. The best part – we are so busy we need more staff to cover yet another service expansion in the new year.

This company was founded for one reason, I saw a void in the market, a market of which I am a consumer and had a need that could not be filled. Basically – I live in a rural area and could not find a professional, reliable company to clean my house! I had a need so I filled it. Apparently other people have the same needs and for that I am grateful, it has created employment and security for my amazing staff while allowing them flexibilty for their families – that is truly a gift!

Just as we were getting the hang of this new company, with trained reliable staff, a strong clientelle and management systems, I took a break and went on vacation with my husband and two oldest children (I have 4). Finding ntertainment options while travelling with a 22 and an 11 year old is interesting but find it we did, in the form of one of the newest options out there  – Escape Rooms.  By the third or fourth I realized that just like the cleaning company, if my family had a need for entertainment options that were not being filled in our market area, others may too. Unfulfilled needs create something I love more than chocolate… opportunity. Another opportunity, less than 6 months after the last one!

We opened Escape the Final Countdown in August 2016 – only two months after that vacation, yes 2 months. It was a whirlwind of research and development, both of our location and plan but for myself professionally. Design, construction, puzzle flow, decor, immersion, software, electronics – these were all new to me and I am still learning every single day. What I did have that propelled this projected into fast forward was the backbone of business – experience, management, marketing and finance so it all came together quickly and is still an evolving beast.

So here we are, on the cusp of 2017, Butterfly Consultations while taking a backseat to the youngest children is ready to regain its momentum, Champion Engraving is the middle child searching for its place, Muck Off is nine months old and starting to walk on its own and Escape TFC is slowly being weaned with a solid management team and amazing staff.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, the one rule I do follow is that as a leader whenever I am faced with that question, I always, ALWAYS look to my mission statement, it will guide me to where I want to be, where I intended to be when developing this company. Budiwski Holdings Inc.’s mission in a nutshell is ‘Excellence through Empowerment’. I want to provide my clients with excellent products and service and I can only get that through the excellent people I surround myself with. How do people become excellent in all they do? You empower them. You let them do what they are good at, you learn from what they are great at and you help them develop what they are weak at. That’s it.

So that is what 2017 is going to bring to us here at Budiwski Holdings Inc. I am backing off the day to day operations of our two newest endeavours to do what I am good at, teach what I am great at and learn what I am weak at and in doing so I will create opportunities for my team to do the same, in every department. Together we will continue to grow, evolve and excel in all that we do. I believe in that whole heartedly.  While 2016 was a whirlwind, 2017 will be a constant, focused, steady climb and I am so looking forward to it. I even bought new boots!

What does it mean as far as our products and services? Will it mean a new launch? A new company? New divisions? Just like us you will have to wait and see which opportunities present themselves but rest assured that when they do, we will be ready.

We will always be ready. Rules be damned.



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