The #1 Lesson I Ever Learned about Time and My Direct Selling Business

The #1 lesson I ever learned about time and my direct selling business, I learned from Dr. Thomas Barrett in his 1998 book,  Dare to Dream, Work to Win. It’s still just as relevant today as it was back then.

A single book can change the course of your business. It did for me.

When Dr. Barrett wrote Dare to Dream, Work to Win,  I was not yet involved in direct selling or network marketing. However, many years later, I was given his book to read by a trusted mentor.  It was a pivotal book for me to read at a time when I wasn’t yet sure direct selling was my long-term career choice. Even though I was doing quite well, I hadn’t yet realized it was a “real” business opportunity with significant, life-altering potential.

Having spent several years of my life listening to the experiences of pilots, I was quite familiar with the concept of “flight hours.” In the book, Dr. Barrett makes a very important point about time and how we, as direct sellers, see it. The lessons I learned reading his book helped me see that I could quickly compete with anyone in my company or in the industry. It’s all about putting in more time on real business building activities, not playing office or feeling busy.

It’s Not How Long You’ve Been “Affiliated” with Your Company That Matters.

You see, Dr. Barrett uses an analogy to paint a picture. He suggests that we keep track of our time in business not in terms of the years in which we have been “affiliated” with our companies but in terms of “hours we have logged.” This includes the time we “spend showing our business presentation to someone” or in party-plan, actually holding parties.

In his analogy, Dr. Barrett illustrates his point through the idea of a pilot’s flight hours. If we were getting on a plane, we don’t care how long the pilot has had his license or how many training classes he has taken, we care how many hours he has literally flown. Would you prefer to fly with someone who has 15 flight hours logged or someone who has 1500?

This nugget of brilliance immediately helped me see that I was in control of how fast I grew my business. I could quickly figure out which activities on which to focus the majority of my effort and time. My business’ success was in my hands. I could play office or I could choose to go to work each day and spend my time getting myself in front of more people at parties and holding more recruiting conversations. This concept helped me measure my success more effectively. I wasn’t paid to create cute flyers on my computer or organize my files, I was paid for personal and team sales results. I could forecast these results based on key indicators in sales, recruiting and retention.

Compare Your Results to the Amount of Time You Put into Your Business Each Week Doing Business Building Activities.

This way of thinking also made me a better leader. I could help my team members determine how to measure their success. It isn’t about comparing ourselves to each other. Instead, it is about comparing our results to the time we put in each week on very specific activities. Those that are willing to put in more time spent on revenue generating activities naturally move their businesses forward more quickly.

In fact, I remember a meeting where we were celebrating the success of our team’s top recruiter. It was an exciting time for me because for a long period, I had been our team’s top recruiter. I knew that real, true success would start to snowball when I created a culture in my team where my team members stretched to do even more than I was doing. At this meeting, we were recognizing Maria for her extremely successful recruiting results.

When I asked her to share with the group what she did that led to these results, she said, “I did what you recommended. I booked more parties than ever before and I literally talked to each person everywhere I went about the business. I met more people than before, and I met more people who wanted to learn about our business.” It was that simple. Maria logged more hours focused on revenue generating activities, and she experienced greater results than anyone else. As an added bonus, the more time she spent, the better she got, leading to even greater achievements. (Note: Recruiting is a revenue generating activity when those recruits go out and sell! We’re paid to inspire others to sell, not just to recruit them!)

We achieve more when we look at the time we spend and plan it with purpose. We all have just 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. The difference between success and failure is the difference between intentionally planning our days, hours and minutes versus winging it!

Want more help on creating a plan for success that works for you?

The topic of planning for success and goal setting is so important to me. I believe that my success in the field and in consulting is because I learned how to prioritize my time early on in my career. In fact, it’s so important that on my new FB LIVE show, It’s Up to ME! I’ve included a  3-part series on this exact topic — Planning for Success.

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About Laurie Girardi

Laurie eats, sleeps and dreams about providing smart solutions and cutting-edge resources for entrepreneurs across the globe. The key, in Laurie’s opinion, is the melding of classic core business principles and consumer-focused strategies with modern methods, tools and technology. Laurie is a highly regarded international speaker and direct selling industry expert. She owns The Girardi Group, Inc. and its family of entities including Laurie’s background also includes a Masters Degree in Economics & Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware.