Monday, January 16, 2012

My Story.

You may have read my story in bits and pieces throughout this blog before, but bear with my. I'm going to take this entry to write a bit about myself and my journey with working from home. I want you to understand who I am, where I come from, what I do and why I do the things I do. I'm not a complex person, really. I'm pretty much right in your face, letting you know exactly what I think. Yes, I can be loud and - dare I say it? - obnoxious at times, but only when I get annoyed. Aside from what I am when I get upset, I really am a very generous person that wants to help others. A lot of times people think that there is some sort of "catch" with me helping them, but there's not. I'm the person that will help an old lady load groceries into her car or fly across country to help a friend in distress... I bend over backwards to help people, and I often find myself getting burned. Such is the case for the successful travel and event planning business that I built from the ground up, Candy Cain Travel. I don't charge service fees, and I do whatever I can to get my cleints the best deals. Even then, they think that I am scamming them somehow, and sometimes end up booking their own trips online or something. It is outrageously frustrating. To quote Popeye, "I am whats I am and that's all that I am." (Or something like that.)

For two years, my best friend Dionne tried to get me to enroll in the work-from-home company that she was working for. In 2009, I had a reality show in development (Wedding Lane with Candy Cain) and was contractually bound not to endorse any companies or products, so I used that as my excuse. Frankly, I had enough of these work-from-home companies. I had done a throng of them and never made significant money: Aloette, Pampered Chef, MonaVie, PartyLite, Avon, Mary Kay... I tried it all and never really succeeded with them. I still have inventory and kits left over from ALL of them in my basement, which will one day find itself on eBay.  But, I digress. I didn't want to do it. 2009 wasn't the right time for me. 2010 wasn't the right for me. In July of 2011, Dionne called me and asked me if I could go to Convention with her because her mom had to cancel at the last minute for work. Since I'm a travel agent, I was able to get a ridiculously cheap ticket to Minneapolis and went. I hadn't seen my best friend in about three years, and it was our 20th anniversary. How could I have not gone?

Photo by Cassandra Mooney
So, I went. I met Dionne in Minneapolis, and I was a stick in the mud. I had a destination wedding in Mexico the week before and was still exhausted from all of the running around that I did. Plus, I just wasn't interested in the business. I was there with Dionne, who was totally gung-ho about her business, and I didn't support her the way that I should have. (Again, I'm sorry, Dionne!) I skipped out on the workshops and tooled around on my computer in the hallways, chatted with a few of the presenters, even headed back to the hotel every now and again. I did go to a few workshops, though, including one with this Corporate Director II with the company, and I liked what he had to say. Going in, I thought that this was just another Mary Kay or, even worse, Amway... Coming out, I realized that building a business didn't have to do with sales, but had everything to do with marketing. Hell, I wrote a book on marketing! I could do this business. An hour before the banquet, I enrolled.

I remember sitting around the banquet table with a bunch of strangers. They were all talking about how they had been with the company for YEARS and how the products were do fabulous... And I realized that was why they were all the way in the back of the banquet hall, not all the way up in the front. As I watched two new Corporate Directors open checks on-stage for over $160,000 each, I decided tight then that I was going to take this business to heart and FINALLY - after two stinkin' years - team up with my best friend. I advanced to Director after nine days. After eight more days (17 days total), I advanced to Director II, which catapulted Dionne to Director III. This was a major achievement, as Dionne has been sitting at Director II for over a year. My first check was $839.26, and I had spent $68.13. That was a profit of $771.13. My husband, a police sergeant, took one look at my check and said, "You'll never do that again." I was determined to prove him wrong.
The next month, my check was a little over $781, and I had spent $238 on the Value Pack plut tax and shipping. My profit was about $543. My husband saw my check and said, "You're going to jail. I don't know what you're doing, but you're going to jail.

My third month's check was $712 and change. My husband saw the check, shrugged and gave it back to me.

My fourth month's check was over $750 again. My husband looked at the check and asked, "Is there a meeting or something that I can go to with you?" He went to the Director Celebration Dinner with me as well as the January Launch. Now, he understands the business, and is helping me achieve my goals. He gets it. Some of my friends are starting to get it, too, and have begun enrolling on my team. I currently have 116 people below me, 38 of whom I have personally enrolled. Almost everyone is getting a check - more than 70% - and that really makes me feel good. People understand it. They see the business. They grow. I grow. We all win.

To come full-circle, that is what attracted me to the business: I get rewarded for helping people, which is something that I go out of my way to do, anyway. My business grows when I help others build their businesses. A perfect fit, don't you think?

I have had my fill of demanding clients that want something for nothing and just don't appreciate the hard work and effort I put into every single trip, group and wedding that I do. Not all of my clients are like that, mind you. I have a FABULOUS wedding coming up in March that I am really looking forward to. But, I have had it with being treated like some second class citizen - or worse, a thief - when I try to deal with unreasonable people that want a week-long luxury vacation for less than a weekend at a moderate hotel, then blame me for price gouging. I love, love, love the travel business, but I need a break. So, for the next three months, I am going to put everything I can into my work-from-home business and bring it to a point where I can pass on the reservation requests I receive to the travel agents that work for me, and be a bit more selective on the people that I choose to personally work with. I need the break from travel and events for a month or two, or I am going to completely self-destruct. I know myself well enough to know that I need to take a break. I can't NOT do anything for work, so I'm going to focus on working from home, and helping others to build their own businesses.

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