Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Weddings of Grace features Urban Botanic

I'm so excited about the new online magazine Weddings of Grace (! I had written to Cornelia Powell a few months back and told her about UB and the concept and the incredible way that women can create their own "wedding day scent" and she loved it! She told me that in January she would be updating her online magazine and would include UB in the "Cornelia Recommends" section. Sure enough it's there (see the link below on Bloggers Featuring the Bee). Her magazine is major eye candy and I'm so excited right now I could scream!

Anyway I've been working with Kelsey lately on the "wedding" focus and also Irene as Vegas is obviously beyond a huge market for weddings. LOL. So hopefully this will inspire all of you to continue planting seeds and working with bloggers and online sites to continue to spread the UB concept to everyone!

It must be wedding day because I just received a call from the Seattle Wedding Expo who has me on the waiting list for 2008 but wants to talk to me about advertising on their site. I'll check it out but not sure if the cost will be prohibitive with everything else we have going now. February continues to be busy! Next week will be awesome with 3 shows (Oregon, West Virginia, and WA).

Love is in the air!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Calendar Check!

The Success Factory had a great tip today. We should do this at the end of every month actually!

"Today's assignment is “Calendar Check”. At this point in the month the bulk of your sales for January should be submitted. Close up any parties that are still open to avoid the last minute rush of end of the month deadlines. How are your next 6 weeks shaping up? Look at the goals that you set for January. How did your month end up vs. what you anticipated? If you met or exceeded your goals, good for you; congratulations are in order. If you came up a bit short, how many parties or recruits will you need to add to your February goal to make up for the deficit? This is the time of year that weather can potentially throw a curve ball into even the best made plans, so overbook your calendar by 1-2 events with that in mind. Pick up the phone; then, when you've booked those extra parties, reward yourself with a trip to Starbucks or 30 minutes with your favorite book!"

Managing your calendar as we've learned in Build it Big and from Karen Phelps is KEY to your sanity! Don't forget to set days you'll work and days you won't and stick to them!

Trouble Booking Parties?

Here are 82 ways to book that party today!

1. Send a brochure to a co-worker that has moved.

2. Send a brochure to your Tupperware, Discovery Toys, Etc. Reps or Exchange Shows.

3. Post a flyer in the teachers lounge at your child's school.

4. Post a flyer in the employee lunch room.

5. Hold an Open House

6. Have a booth at a school fair

7. Advertise in your Alumni newsletter and or local newspaper

8. Give a brochure to the receptionist at your doctor's or dentist's office

9. Include a card or flyer with your bill payments.

10. Call past hostesses

11. Put current brochure and card in your neighbors door. Include a 10% off coupon.

12. Ask friends to have a show

13. Advertise in your church bulletin

14. Take a recipe to every potluck. (That has something to do with your business)

15. Host an office party or brunch.

16. Host a show before or during a PTA meeting.

17. Mail out samples, brochures, and a wish list

18. Host your own show. Could even be a fund raiser for your favorite charity.

19. Get a list from welcome wagon in your neighborhood or complex. New people may be looking for a consultant or a new job in your area.

20. Set up a display at a craft fair

21. Participate in a school fund raiser

22. Have your Husband or significant other promote the products at work.

23. Have you and your family members wear at shirt or sweatshirt promoting your product.

24. Hold a Christmas shopping show for men.

25. Offer a Christmas wish list to your guest and then call the gift giver.

26. Set up a display at a mall.

27. Put an ask me button on your purse or coat.

28. Ask past hostesses at shows to talk about their free products.

29. Hold an opportunity night.

30. Random mailings. Open a phone book and randomly choose.

31. Mention Hostess half price gifts and other benefits at least three times per show.

32. Hold up higher price products and mention half price products to encourage bookings.

33. Mention how much your average hostess gets in products.

34. At the beginning of your show mention the hostess goal.

35. Share upcoming specials at shows and during phone calls.

36. Tell your hostess how much she saved by having a show.

37. Encourage frequent customers to regularly plan shows.

38. Encourage Hostesses to rebook a show in 6-9 months. She'll be the first to see and try new products.

39. Treat Hostesses to a special Hostess appreciation tea.

40. Encourage relatives to book a show.

41. Call your realtor with suggestions for new home packages.

42. Offer to do a class for your local grocery store.

43. Start an email address book of customers who want to know what the monthly specials are, Don't forget to mention the hostess specials, if there isn't one create one.

44. Encourage your hostesses and guests to refer potential hostesses to you.

45. Offer a bridal registry.

46. Promote the bridal shows.

47. Describe and highlight the hostess plan during shows.

48. Be friendly and enthusiastic.

49. Follow through on every booking lead.

50. Ask, Ask, Ask

51. Use open ended questions, especially when dealing with bookings.

52. Use your products and samples at home, office, camping, parties, etc..

53. Read sales, self improvement, and positive thinking books.

54. Call at least two potential hostesses every night.

55. Dream and imagine the possibilities

56. Set goals and review them constantly, post them where you can see them.

57. Ask friends to help you get started or reach a certain goal.

58. Use hostess flyers.

59. Use postcards and or newsletters to continue to spark interest.

60. Follow up phone calls to particularly interested guests. They may decide later to have a show.

61. Have the hostess tell why she decided to have a show.

62. Give products as gifts or donations.

63. Don't be shy talking about your products or business.

64. Smile when talking on the phone.

65. Review orders from the past shows--who have bought frequently, etc.

66. Be prepared to answer questions about your work.

67. Write down names of people who owe you a favor and then follow up.

68. Call the most familiar people first.

69. Call potential hostesses who postponed or never booked.

70. Spend time every day working on some aspect of your business.

71. Be willing to share the business opportunity.

72. Call anyone who has said maybe or sometime.

73. Contact schools.

74. Leave your business cards on bulletin boards or in local businesses.

75. Talk about upcoming specials with everyone.

76. Keep a list of special requests and let those guests know when that product is on sale.

77. Suggest hosting a show to do Christmas shopping with out leaving home.

78. Offer a bonus for hostesses who book on days or months you need and extra show.

79. Give extra service and time to good customers-they will be repeat hostesses and potential consultants.

80. Carry a note pad to jot down names as you think of them.

81. Let guests keep a catalog or sales brochure to keep on hand or pass around work.

82. Love what you do! Smile!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend in Eugene, OR for Urban Botanic

Well I'm back from Eugene, OR and WOW was it a fun experience. I've met my first Hive Member outside of WA and it was MORE thrilling than I could've imagined. I feel like I know of you all so intimately (don't go there ;) already and so meeting Emie was like meeting a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years. It was so cool. Both she and her hubby joined me and my hubby for dinner at the Olive Garden. I hope she had as great a time as we did because I don't think she stopped laughing at me the whole time (I was pretty funny on no sleep having left for Eugene at 4:30 am and meeting them at 6pm). She and Bruce are an incredible couple and their faith and devotion for their church, family, and UB really shined. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to meet her (sigh).

In regards to the flea market, Emie had warned me that the people were a bit "colorful" but the man with the pair of pants made out of a patchwork quilt has won my heart over forever (LOL). The best part was that the Eugene Home Show was next door so we had quite a bit of traffic come over from there as well. My big sale of the day was a bottle of oil! This man was obsessed in finding honey dew melon and low and behold his search ended with me. Another man had taken the online test after meeting Emie the week before and was sure not giving "me" his sale. He said he'd hook up with her the following day (which I checked and HE DID). One of my funnest moments was hooking up with a cartoonist that drew my face on a bee body smelling a UB parfum spray! My caption is "Have you been stung by the UB Queen Bee?" and he gave me the copyright on this so I'm totally psyched to use it in a lot of places. I've included a photo of it here and also one of the table.

I gave out about 50 cards (Emie is much more of a pro) and lots of people stopped by to play the guess this scent so 5 boxes of chocolates from the $1 store later I had to take the sign down (those lasted a good 5 hours though). Emie will do that at the Affair of the Heart event next week but a little differently and for a raffle for $50 in UB product with a venue of 4000 women so she'll be hooked up. Angie had a great idea for the guessing game on the WAHM board which sounded a bit easier. I used sandalwood and pomegranate in separate glasses to let people guess. Most of them thought it was cherry so I had to start giving clues. I probably wouldn't make it as hard next time but it did get their attention and time for me to give the shpeel. Emie also takes her laptop and plays the consultant dvd which had never crossed my mind so kudos for that! People would stop and ask and watch so she'll use that for the event next week as well. She's doing it on her own but I know she'll survive and be great. It's only 4-9 but I think she might take some back up for pody breaks!

I left Ted to fend for himself for awhile while I looked around. From across the way I saw him trying to handle 3 ladies so I did a marathon run over there but he was doing just fine on his own (he's heard me on the phone WAY too many times). It was definitely a together time weekend and I think he appreciates what we're working to accomplish even more. I heard him giving Bruce and Emie advice when we went out to the car and I was shocked at the tidbits he had to offer them. It's great to see things from that perspective and to realize he actually does look at this as our future and is serious in supporting me. He actually did ALL the driving while I slept so that was pretty big as well. Needless to say we're taking an earned break from each other tonite LOL.

This afternoon I had a reunion with my Ladies Who Launch Incubator girls and that was really fun. We're all growing in our businesses and I feel so blessed to have these connections. I'm excited to meet with my coach next week and really get to business on some of the processes I want to put into place. On my way home I called Emie to see how today went. This girl has more potential in her pinkie finger than I do in my whole body. She has learned to live life efficiently and her story will bring tears to your eyes when she speaks at the convention (yes Emie I just put that in print). She sold another lotion today on the spot at her booth (how she does this I truly am amazed). She also had a man stop by that coordinates vendors for over 200 shows nationwide. He told her he had NEVER seen any company like ours and how great we would do at some of the different shows and gave Emie a brochure and we'll be contacting him and let the team know about shows that make sense in their areas. VERY EXCITING!

So all in all it's been a very productive weekend. As far as this type of venue going forward I think Emie has taken the experience and connections she needed to out of it but moving forward she'll probably focus on more women's venues or spa product type venues with customers willing to shell out some dough to smell great. Wedding/Baby venues are also great and with our new Mr. Connections we'll know what's out there for the whole U.S.!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Tips from The Success Factory

Subject: Hard Work Isn't FUN - an excerpt from Success is a Choice - our book of the month

“We all have a point at which we want to quit. We all have a breaking point. We all have a time when we question what we are doing, especially if it's difficult. Usually the number one sign is when we say, `This is no longer fun. It's just not worth it.'…

You must understand this and realize that at some point it's going to happen to you. You must understand the power of these psychological traps and do everything you can to combat them…”

After the frenzied pace of the holidays - January can present a new and different set of challenges in your party plan business. Natural enemies include inclement weather conditions and the common cold and flu to name a few. For some consultants this can mean an increase in the number of cancelled/rescheduled parties and recruiting appointments.

No matter what kind of business you have, if you are not committed to a “failure is not an option” mindset, you are setting yourself up for failure, says Neil Anderson, president of The Courage Group, a consulting firm for entrepreneurs.

In his book, Success is a Choice, Rick Pitino explains and dissects the importance of mental attitude in growing a business. This book is one that will never collect dust in your home office library.

(From Shawna - I've read his first book and it's excellent. There are definitely days that things don't feel "fun" anymore but if we just work through it)

Subject: How am I doing?

Why is it that some people are so successful in their businesses and others are not? Well, there are lots of contributing factors; but today, we will look at one of the most important ones. The most successful business people never stop observing themselves and learning.

Once you decide that you've learned everything there is to know about your business, in our opinion it is the kiss of death. Never stop attending meetings and seminars, listening to tapes and reading and never stop learning from others who are successful in your company but also from your CUSTOMERS!

One of the smartest questions you can ask your customers is, “How am I doing?”

Our tip for today is a challenge to you. At your next presentation, during your introduction, let the guests know that you are always striving to do a better job. Ask that they watch what you do in order to give you some honest feedback about your presentation, your company, and your product. Then, be willing to listen to what they have to say and analyze the comments in order to make you more effective at your next presentation.You might be surprised at the results!

(From Shawna - Sometimes it can be a little nerve racking to ask for feedback but for your growth it's totally worth it!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Internet Marketing for 2007 - Affordable Efficiency

I'm off to Oregon to do a fair with Emie and meet her and her hubby so posting Sat/Sun now :)

For those of you just starting out with Urban Botanic
I think these marketing tools below provided by are a HUGE help in getting your business off and running and driving traffic to your sites. There are a lot of them I have been doing but also a lot of new info that I plan to implement immediately!

If you pay attention to online marketing, you are constantly inundated with people who sell the so-called "secrets" to brand new marketing techniques on the Internet. Each and every day you are bombarded with new e-books, teleseminars and software alleging to hold the "secrets" of blog and ping, or the "secrets" of the death of Google Adsense or the "secrets" of content is king for Search Engines.

However, the truth of the matter in nearly all cases is that most of these products are expensive and endorsed solely by the gurus who get paid for every item they sell. Real testimonials are rare and the pressure you are under to purchase these products is enormous.

Let's make a two-fold pact for 2007:
One - We will not be swept away by all the hype on the Internet.
Two - We will primarily use tried and tested, successful Internet marketing techniques that won't cost us a fortune to use.

To help you off to the right start in launching your own cost-effective marketing strategy for 2007, I want to share some valuable ideas that I've used to grow my own business. These marketing concepts are genuinely affordable, truly simple to implement and have honestly helped me gain generous exposure, which has resulted in new clients and increased sales. My top fifteen favorite effective and inexpensive Internet marketing tactics are listed below:

1. Article submissions to online e-zines, directories and newsgroups, and off-line magazines and newspapers (don't worry about the duplicate content issues ... just get as many one-way links to your site as possible to boost your Search Engine ranking). Writing and submitting free reprint articles is a resourceful way to generate increased exposure and will drive traffic to your web site.

2. Create and market your own affiliate program using low cost tools on the Internet, which incidentally, there are numerous tools on the web that are very affordable. Offer affiliates your articles for reprint and allow them to use their affiliate link in your byline. But don't stop there ... submit your program to affiliate program directories so that prospects can find it readily.

3. Write and submit press releases to both paid and free press release sites. Let your target audience know about your company, new products and services you're offering and also about special company events or promotions. If you're concerned that perhaps your writing talents are a bit rough yet, hire a ghostwriter to draft your release for you. And yes, there are many talented, professional writers who work on a freelance basis and accept both one-time and ongoing projects at an affordable rate.

4. Register with and actively participate in forums that target your ideal client or customer. Check in at least once a week and offer helpful advice to other forum participants seeking assistance and information in your area of expertise. Be sure to craft and use a compelling signature that will get added to your posts. With just a small investment of your time, you can establish yourself as an expert within your industry, which can result in generous exposure.

5. Offer legitimate comments and articles to blog owners who cover your topic area and target your audience. Create solid and productive relationships, offering to make blog postings for them in return for a byline with a live link to your site. The fact that you're willing to offer blog owners something of value upfront will make them eager to reciprocate.

6. List your teleseminars, e-zines, live events and books on Craigslist in cities and sections that have appeal for your target audience. Sign-in and repost your listings on a regular basis to keep them current.

7. Research opportunities to be a guest on teleseminars, podcasts and webinars. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities available if you simply take the time to look for them. Keep a list of questions and potential topics ready for your pitch. Keep track of your guest appearances and promote them on your web site.

8. Actively participate in online social networks such as MySpace, Ryze and LinkedIn. Write compelling copy for your profile and be sure to have a good picture and logo to add where permitted. Including your photo allows people to feel a connection to you, simply because they can put a face to your name.

9. Join and participate in associations and non-profits that attract your perfect client. Find relevant associations by searching for your keyword + association in search engines and visit the American Society of Association Executives. Involvement in organizations such as this, as well as local civic organizations, offers valuable networking opportunities.

10. Place paid advertisements in e-zines that target your audience. If possible, purchase the advertisement when the publisher is running one of your articles in order to gain maximum exposure with this strategy. There are three types of common advertisements available in e-zines: classified, sponsor and solo. Chose the most inexpensive position with the greatest exposure.

11. Write or hire a ghostwriter to create a short e-course that you can give away so long as people provide you with their e-mail address. Make certain that your e-course is relevant to your target audience and not full of fluff and fillers. By offering solid value in your e-course, you can benefit from readers who take notice of your other work/articles and will often seek out additional work you've written. Be sure to include a privacy policy and notify those who give you their e-mail address that they will be subscribed to your e-zine.

12. Downloadable white papers are usually longer versions of articles and often include graphics and links to resources. As with your e-course require people who want the white paper to register for your e-zine. Encourage people to send the registration link to their colleagues, friends and family who share a similar interest.

13. Create your own blog, update at least every other day and include links to your web sites. Ping blog directories and Search Engines every time you make a post for verification that your blog is turning up results.

14. Sponsor contests and submit them to contest directories. Give away a book a month or an hour of your services and encourage people to register for your e-zine. If your business involves selling a product rather than a service, you can offer specific products for prizes with contest entry automatic when people signup for your e-zine. Be creative with your contests, but always make the winning prize something of value that is relevant to your business.

15. Testimonials and referrals can be obtained from the same people. Offer to include a picture with testimonials and a live link to your client's web site. This strategy is a win-win marketing tactic for both you and your client. No satisfied client would refuse such an opportunity! Instead of e-mailing referrals send a professionally written letter via postal mail with some of your most popular articles and invite recipients to call you for a free fifteen minute consultation.

There are dozens of free marketing techniques in the online and off-line world. These fifteen are not the only ones I use but they are my absolute favorites and have been used successfully by thousands of people, including Internet gurus. Don't fall for every new marketing scheme; instead, spend your money selectively on marketing products. If you are pressed for time hire a virtual assistant to handle the free and low cost marketing techniques listed here and carve out some time in your schedule every month to research and evaluate new techniques.

Happy Marketing!

About the Author: Bonnie Jo Davis is an experienced and successful article marketer and author who built her entire business marketing with articles. Hire her to teach you how to exploit the power of article marketing or join her affiliate program by visiting

Friday, January 26, 2007

Using Urban Botanic as a fundraiser opportunity

I am so excited about this post today as the information is coming from our great team member in Ohio, Lauri Hetzer! She called me the other day to tell me that Karen (her sponsor) and I better be qualified for Orchid this July as she was blowing the roof off of product orders that month due to this incredible fundraising activity she was doing for a local high school cheer leading squad. I asked her to send in the details so I could post for the team. Below in her words are those details...

"Ok, here it is! I contacted a high school cheerleading team that I knew had trouble with fundraising this year. Also,this school and community is huge in my family, so I have a few contacts there.

I sent the head cheerleading coach an email saying congratulations (the squad cheered at the gator bowl this year) and talked a bit about their fundraising. I offered to do a fundraiser for her next year (this summer) and outlined my offer.

What it basically breaks down to is that I will do 4-10 person parties in one day, and split the commission with her 30%/10%. The charge is $50 per person, by appointment, and they will leave with their own signature perfume, shower gel and lotion package. So, for each one of these fundraising days they will get $600, no up front cost to them. I'll even supply the flyers.

All they need to do is get the word out and unlock the cafeteria on Saturday. Well, she's thinking she would like to do 4 of them in the summer/early fall, July-August sort of thing, with 160 people and $2400 profit to her squad. Which means, if we fill all 4 Saturdays, that's 16 parties in 4 weeks and $8000 in retail sales! Yes, I take a big cut out of my commission, but really, $200 for a day's work is fine with me, and just think of all the regular bookings and recruits I can get!

And you two make sure you get that Orchid bonus in July, because that's $800 or so for each of you! I think this is a great set up for small time fundraising, like small clubs and atheletic groups. It'll cost quite a bit to start up, because I'll need 40 sprays, lotions and shower gels as well as a wholebunch of oils, but I've got time to prepare. And cheerleaders are, well, cheerleaders, and no one in the world gets the word out like they do. :) Yay!!!Lauri"

Ok so did she just give you the nuts and bolts of the perfect fundraiser? Depending on the item or venue you can change the commission structure or product around but I think that is eriously the coolest!!!!

I hope that inspires all of you to really work with PTA or churches, or any group that is looking for help and with a fundraiser like this and they really get the most hip and fun fundraiser around and people actually get something out of it that's healthy (unlike candy and cookies) and love their products as well as helping out!

Thanks Lauri for sharing this and I plan to do my own fundraising as well with such a great way to move volume and help others!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Self Promotion through article marketing...

I joined as a way to promote UB with articles and help myself in becoming a better writer overall. I think that and some others are great ways to use your articles on working at home mom's or direct sales, or whatever you want to do to bring attention to your UB site as you post that with your name on the bottom of these articles that can be picked up anywhere. I know that Karen, Shelby, and Lauri are even better pros at this, so I hope they post some comments here to give even more info...

This information is from Entire Web:

Article Marketing Tips - Start with An Outline

Marketing is often segmented into four distinct sets of activity. The four P's - Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement or distribution. Article Marketing Strategies can play a significant role in at least two of these activities and should be incorporated into every Internet Marketing Campaign.

Writing and submitting articles strategically to various Sites is of tremendous value in both Promotion and Placement.
With this is mind, what's the best way to write these promotional articles?
We've done it through junior high, it expanded longer through high school, then on college it became chapters. No matter how many times a person have done it, writing articles has proven to be a task many has continuously avoided. Now at a time when writing articles could help your job or work, facing the job at hand can be still faced with unfriendly behavior.

While there are a great number of people who do not have the same attitude in article writing as others, there are still those who would rather walk in piping hot coals than do some article writing. What set people apart from other towards article writing is that they are prepared and has some methods and procedures in writing articles. One of the methods you can use to prepare yourself when tasked to write in article is creating an outline first. Creating an outline for all your articles makes you prepared. You have an idea of what to do first and make a plan for your succeeding steps. Being prepared makes the job easier and faster. Being organized will allow for disorientation to be shunned away.

An outline can act as the design or blueprint for your article. This will guide you in creating the introduction, body and conclusion of your article. Here in this point, you can write down some of the ideas and sentences that you feel will look good in your article. This could be some of the focal point that could help make your article creative, interesting and appealing to a reader.

A carefully planned and fully prepared project would guarantee and ensure a problem and worry free procedure that can virtually go without any hassles. Creating an outline for all your articles will get you ready and breeze through writing an article in no time at all. Here I will provide you with some tips and guidelines in how to create an outline for all of your articles.

Did you know?
* Writing and submitting articles strategically to various Sites is of tremendous value in both Promotion and Placement.
* Promotion includes advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling, and refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.
* Placement or distribution refers to how the product gets to the customer - the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc.

Do some brainstorming and jot down your brilliant ideas first. Think of some ways to attract the interest of your reader. Designate a time frame where you can write down all the ideas that you can use for your articles. By this time you should have done all your research and information searching. Review and reread your ideas and notes, gain mastery and sufficient familiarity with your topic so that writing them down later own would be easy for you.

The next step is to discover your sub topic and sub titles. As you would provide a first sentence for your article, one that would immediately grab the attention of your reader, you would need some as well for your sub topics. To be concise, you would need to get all the facts that will support and go against your point.

These are the frames or skeleton of your article, now its time to add the flesh and the meat of your article. You will need to connect all your paragraphs and sub topics. This will form the body of your Article. While the introduction will usher in the ideas of your paragraph, you will need a conclusion. The conclusion will wrap up your points and drive in what you are saying in your article. The outline for your article would also require you to write a draft first. This may take more than one attempt but remember that it is called a draft for a reason. Your outline shall be perfected as each draft is written and this draft is meant for your eyes only so there's no reason to feel ashamed. As you go on, you will clearly see the bigger picture and write an article that will perfectly suit what is demanded of it.

Reread and reread what you have written down. Always refer to your outline so that you won't drift away from what you had first written down. Its not hard to be caught in the moment and get lost in your writing frenzy. Your outline will help you keep in track. All those hours spent in outlining your article will not go to waste. This will serve as your guide in writing articles. Trust and rely on your outline because this will prove to be a very helpful tool in writing all of your articles.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

7 Ways To Boost Your Business

As a big fan of Mark Victor Hansen, this article he has on the DSWA website is perfect for our business. A lot of people ask me "how are you getting these bloggers?, how are you getting these people to come on board with you?, how are you getting such great party sales?" Honestly I just expect it and I always ask. I think that is one of the biggest differences with me is I have grown up with an entrepreneurial father who also asked and was told NO a lot, but it didn't kill him! And the more he was told NO the more he was also told YES! Hopefully this article helps impact your Wednesday!

7 Ways to Boost Your Business, Simply by Asking!

By Mark Victor Hansen Submitted by: DSWA

The gift called asking has been around for a long, long time. In fact, one of life's fundamental truths states, ask and you shall receive. Kids are masters at using this gift but we adults seem to lose our ability to ask. We come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons to avoid any possibility of rejection. Yet the world responds to those who ask. If you are not moving closer to what you want in sales, you probably aren't doing enough asking.

Fortunately, to help create abundance there are many ways to ask. Since the rewards of asking are substantial, why do people stumble when they have an opportunity to ask? There are three basic reasons:

1. They have a belief system that says it's not right to ask.

2. They lack confidence.

3. They fear rejection.

If any of these three negative forces are playing havoc with your opportunity to get ahead, you must use what is called taking the leap of faith. That means releasing old beliefs, feeling good about yourself and understanding that life isn't perfect. It's normal to experience a lot of roadblocks along the way.


1. Ask for information.
To win potential new clients, you first need to know what their current challenges are, what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it. Only then can you proceed to demonstrate the advantages of your unique product or service. Ask questions starting with the words, who, why, what, where, when and how to obtain the information you need. Only when you truly understand and appreciate the needs of a prospect can you offer a solution. If everything fits, the solution will be your product or service.

2. Ask for business.
Here's an amazing statistic: After doing a complete presentation about the benefits of their product or service, more than 60 percent of the time, salespeople never ask for the order. That's a bad habit, one that could ultimately put you on the selling scrap heap.

Always ask a closing question to secure the business. Don't waffle, talk around it, or worse, wait for your prospect to ask you. You have read good suggestions for these questions, like "Would you like to give it a try?' The point is, just ask. Note that these questions are designed to produce a yes or no answer, unlike the open type questions used in the discovery process.

3. Ask for written endorsements.
Well-written, results-oriented testimonials from highly respected people are powerful for future sales. They solidify the quality of your work and leverage you as a person who has integrity, is trustworthy and who gets the job done on time. Yet most people in sales don't do this. That gives you a great opportunity to jump ahead of your competition. All you need to do is ask. When is the best time? Right after you have provided excellent service, completed a major project under budget, gone the extra mile to help out, or any other time you've made your customer really happy.

Simply ask if your customer would be willing to give you a testimonial about the value of your product or service, plus any other helpful comments.

4. Ask for top-quality referrals.
Just about everyone in business knows the importance of referrals. It's the easiest, least-expensive way of ensuring your growth and success in the marketplace. In our experience, however, only one out of ten companies has a system for gathering referrals.
Your core clients will gladly give you referrals because you treat them so well. So why not ask all of them for referrals? It's a habit that will dramatically increase your income. Like any other habit, the more you do it the easier it becomes.

5. Ask for more business.
Salespeople lose thousands of dollars in sales every year because they have nothing more to offer after the initial sale. Look for other products or services you can provide your customers. Devise a system that tells you when your clients will require more of your products. The simplest way is to ask your customers when you should contact them to reorder. It's often easier to sell your existing clients more than to go looking for new ones.

6. Ask to renegotiate.
Regular business activities include negotiation. Many salespeople get stuck because they lack skills in negotiation. It's another form of asking that can save a lot of time and money. All sorts of contracts can be renegotiated in your own personal life like changing your mortgage terms and rate. As long as you negotiate ethically and in the spirit of win-win, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility. Nothing is ever cast in stone.

7. Ask for feedback.
This is an important component of asking that is often overlooked. How do you really know if your product or service is meeting the needs of your customer? Ask them, "How are we doing? What can we do to improve our service to you? Tell us what you like about our products and what you don't like. " Set up regular customer surveys that ask good questions and tough questions. It's a way to fine-tune your business.


Some people don't enjoy the fruits of asking because they don't ask effectively. If you use vague, unspecific language you will not be understood. Here are four ways to ensure that your asking gets results.

1. Ask clearly.
Be precise. Think clearly about your request. Take time to prepare. Use a notepad to pick words that have the greatest impact. Words are powerful, so choose them carefully.

2. Ask with confidence.
People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you've figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence. This does not mean being brash, arrogant or conceited. The only negative thing that can happen is that your request may be denied. You are in no worse position than before. It just means that you need to look for another route for results.

3. Ask consistently.
Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In sales there are usually four or five "no's" before you get a "yes. " Top producers understand this. When you find a way to ask that works, keep on asking it.

4. Ask creatively.
In this age of global competition, your asking may get lost in the crowd, unheard by the decision-makers you hope to reach. There is a way around this. If you want someone's attention, don't send an ordinary letter. Use your creativity to dream up a high- impact introduction. You may not want to go so far as the saleswoman who sent a chief buyer a homing pigeon with her card attached to one leg. On the card she had written, "If you want to know more about our product, just throw our representative out the window." Think of what you can do to create a powerful impact with your most important prospects and don't be surprised when those impenetrable doors swing wide open to welcome you in.

5. Ask sincerely.
When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don't worry if your presentation isn't perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple and people will open up to you.

When you've exhausted all avenues to get what you want, people are more likely to give a helping hand when you ask for support. People who ask for a free ride all the time rarely succeed.

Mark Victor Hansen is the co-author of the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series and The One Minute Millionaire. He is also founder of “Goal-Mining Challenge” visit

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A great read - "Never Eat Alone"

I am absolutely LOVING this book that reads like a novel by Keith Ferrazzi. He is so incredible and I can't put it down. I'm of course reading Build it Big along with the group and LOVE it as well but this book goes along nicely and if you're an over achiever in the reading department I highly recommend it for those of you focusing on recruiting as well.

He really talks about building relationships vs. networking. I try to always use the 3rd party approach myself when talking to people about the business because it gives both of us a way out if they themselves are not interested and I can always go back to them again if they've helped me in the past. I make sure to "reward" those that bring me leads such as e-card thank you notes or a small token of my appreciation (bigger tokens in the future). I find that people really do just want to be appreciated and it's important to make sure that you do it and often! :)

The other thing he says is that you need to be all about the "giving" to others and helping to find them a great connection or favor and in return it will come back 2 fold. I can honestly say that this has been experienced by myself many times over. The more I help my teammates succeed, the more parties, consultants, and $'s seem to come MY WAY!

I'm so excited to start working with my coach on the 5th. It's so funny I don't think I shared this yet with the team but is a great networking site which apparently if I'd read the fine print, is not so cool with the party plan type of business. I've ran into this before but not from a site LOL. The owners of the site actually found me and REMOVED me from being a member last week. This of course is AFTER I'd made my relationship with Karrie my coach. I was pretty pissed about it because I just felt ousted and talked to her about it. When she told me that "things happen for a reason and the important part was us meeting and now I probably didn't even need that site" I knew she was the one for me!

Postive Attitude = Positive Action was the slogan I used in running for Parliamentarian in DECA in High School. Most of you probably don't even know what DECA is but if you do know what Future Business Leaders of America is, it's pretty much on par. Being a state office for WA was my biggest accomplishment in High School and did so much for my later career. I learned early that no one was going to hand feed me success. From my parents, DECA teachers, and experience in life I recognized that success is a choice and I choose it now!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Perfect end to the weekend...

Well today was my last party for the weekend and it was the perfect and exciting end to my extravaganza! We had hoped to have about 12 people today but ended up with 6 and the other 6 plan to come to another party in the future so it was great because we ended up with a 100% party which is only the 2nd or 3rd time it's happened to me so very exciting with this # of people. (Meaning we sold the party special to every single person in attendance.) It was in a 1st in one area though. I have to admit I've never been very great at pushing the My Scents kits and I know they are a huge value but I've honestly never sold one... until today! And I sold the DOOZY! The $99.95 kit to a customer that had been to a party before and was really enjoying creating the scents. It was a total shock because I mentioned the My Scents at the previous party and thank goodness I had because "she" asked me about it today and said, let's go ahead and do the 9 scent kit. Ummmm - Ok sure! So I took down the scents she wanted and will order it from Corp tomorrow ;)

Very fun day and to top it off this was a super special day because we have 2 recruits coming on board to The Hive. Kelsey Foster was there to train as she's been planning to join at the end of the month, but she's actually coming on tomorrow since Kris who is also signing up lives near Kelsey and I'll have her finish training her and help her out with parties so now we have the "north" of WA covered! So Kelsey will join us with a recruit the day she joins! She's psyched and so am I because these ladies are awesome. Kris has so many contacts it's unreal. She told me today that this is just the 2nd list of 9 lists she has of friends and contacts to invite to her parties! Absolutely unreal. She'll be earning profit in her own home for awhile and then booking parties from them as well for new places to go.

Kelsey took a bunch of pics today so I'll be sure to add them to this blog as soon as I get them from here. It was a great day and a $400 party so I'm pretty psyched!!!! Loving to grow the team locally as well. Looking forward to hear from the rest of the team on their parties. I know everyone is working hard to make Team Elite (or whatever we'll be calling it ;)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Incredibly Crazy & Fun Party Last Night

I'm so tired but I had to blog about last night's party. I'm almost scared about tomorrow's party since we may have 12 people there! Last night our 10 showed up. We had the hostess as part of that and then 9 other guests. It was truly crazy because I planned to take my Mom with me for back up support but she had a conflict so I was on my own. I was actually quite impressed with myself because doing the simplified party allowed me to handle everyone (with some patience on their part) AND have the best sales ever while keeping the actual "party time" to 2 hours! I'm seriously in total awe but I know it's the system and process and sticking to it is really helping so I wanted to share this out with the team.

First of all - I've come to the point where I really don't even use the flip book. I know it's like saying you don't read the bible at church but I'm basically summarizing the flip book in my verbiage. I still think those starting out for the first time should definitley use it for security purposes and to really get the wording down about the company, etc. Basically I'm blogging about my party in a nutshell to help those of you with parties this weekend...

Before I go there, I want you to know that ordering product is key to managing your business. If I didn't have another consultant here in the area who's kit I just pilfered all her product from, I would be totally screwed at this juncture. I sold 7 party specials and 2 bubble baths (which I never seem to sell LOL) last night and for my party of 12, I only had enough lotion, 3 perfumes, 3 shower gels and 0 bubble baths for tomorrow. I also ran out of Eygyptian Musk completely and pretty much frangipani and sandalwood. Sooooooooooo - lesson learned here! I needed to buy enough product to ASSUME that EVERYONE WILL BUY THE SPECIAL! I would've been so embarrassed tomorrow and people would NOT have been happy with me!

So after pilfering enough product for 12 party specials tomorrow I am now prepared! And the great news is that my replacement order will have me on the way for not only my first 30 day goal with Team Elite but also my 2nd 30 day goal! So that's pretty exciting!

Ok back to business....

I start the party introducing UB, telling McKenna's story and also her Mom's allergy challenges and how exciting this product is, etc. I then introduce each product, tell it's price and a little about it. This gets people thinking "oh I can afford this!" Then I tell them this evening is about them. It's a workshop not a party. The catalog they are used to seeing doesn't exist. They are here to shop for a scent they love and they need to find 3-5 scents they like a lot. Once they have accomplished it THEY ARE DONE! You will have some that think they need to smell everything. I tell them "they can, BUT they will be sorry." After 66 oils it's hard to smell anything for awhile. So it's important to make sure to control that a bit and keep an eye out when they are getting close.

Secondly, I tell them we're taking a break smelling once everyone is close to their 3-5 scents. Then we play the booking game. This is the one with the envelopes that say either win a prize or book a party win a prize.

Now we're going to start mixing. I tell them that we will start with 2 scents on their list and make sure we are going in the right direction. Some people start over, some love it immediately and want to quit, some want a 3rd or 4th scent to really feel like it's "special." Once we get through that and they are happy. I ask if they planned to do the party special (which I introduced actually when talking about the products). If they say YES! I always, always start with the perfume. It takes the most drops and time and keeps them busy while I'm helping others get settled.

From their we do the other 2 products and we're golden. They name it and then write the recipe and we tape the back with some packing tape so it doesn't smear (VERY IMPORTANT). I wanted to share out the recipes that were purchased last night and what they purchased so that you can see that SIMPLE = SALE on all of these. None of these are brain surgery!

Heather - Bubble Bath for hubby for Vday - Green Apple 1, Maple Spice 1

Joey - Party Special - Naked 1, Vanilla 2 (FRUITY)

Lindsey - Party Special - Honeydew Melon 1, Coconut 1, Lime 1, Vanilla 1 (FRUITY)

Kim - Party Special - Frangipani 1, China Musk 1, Sandalwood 1 (WOODSY)

Michelle - Party Special - Heliotrope 5, Water Lily 1, Cucumber 1 (she was my toughest customer and was herby on the test but didn't like herbies and ended up with leafy choices)

Leslie - Party Special - Freesia 1, Egyptian Musk 1

Tiffany - Party Special - Egyptian Musk 1, Gardenia 1

Virginia - Shower Gel - 1 Raspberry, 2 Vanilla

Sarah - Party Special - 1 Naked, 2 Green Apple

I can't even remember what the hostess did now because she was kind of on her own LOL and her product ended up all being free due to her sales.

I'm sure you can see from above that everyone bought, everyone was happy, and none of these recipes were super complex whatsoever. MEANING! That any new consultant can have a very successful party and sometimes keeping it simple means that guests will be much more inclined to like their scent and PURCHASE!!!!

I hope this helps and that everyone is excited to get out there and get their first parties done. You will all be great and it's almost impossible to mess up. Of course I always find a way like last night running out of product (I owe 2 people a product with their scents) and of course I forgot my packing tape so that was a bit LAME! But no one was bothered by it and we made it through :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Beating the January Blahs Part 2

So I wanted to post the rest of the series from The Success Factory. I think they are the bomb and I'm going to send in some suggestions from our team and a new company start as well and see if we can get published! I'm thinking the 5 pennies a day concept is maybe something fun to send in. We'll see how that goes...

Anyway here is some more meat from them. I'll post about my parties this weekend as well so we may have some double posts!

Subject: Life in the real world - January blahs Part 2

Yesterday we focused on a couple of things that you can do to get yourself up and rolling this month. Today we will look at what you might do with your team.

If you tried one of our ideas from yesterday; we applaud you! If you haven't, then please do so as this is the first suggestion as to what you can do with your team. Call them and share your excitement about the new idea you are trying. Your enthusiasm will spur them into action. (If they know that you were having trouble getting going too, they won't be feeling so guilty for not working themselves.)

Don't be afraid to invite THEM to your presentation and let them know they can bring a guest as well! They LOVE to see you do what you do and it will make them feel good when they realized that your presentation is not as “picture perfect” as they imagined.

Come to a non-meeting! How about scheduling a play date with your team members? It can be a potluck lunch, morning coffee…whatever. This is just a gathering of your team members where it's OK to bring kids. Don't have enough room in your house? Try the local McDonald's play land. Trust us, your team members are DYING to get out and give their kids something to do. This can be a time just to visit and get to know one another on a more casual and personal basis. These occasional types of activities will help your team bond and become a more cohesive unit. Buddy relationships form and team members will be more likely to come to a normal team meeting when they know they have a friend there! If possible, bring a new product or something that is currently on special to show them. Products “in the face”, always causes excitement. Be sure to keep the atmosphere upbeat and fun…no whining!

Try a team “phone-a-thon”. No one likes the idea of sitting home alone phoning. Try getting several of your team members together at your house armed with order forms from the fall and their cell phones. Together you sit and do your phoning for a pre-designated period of time. You can even have a fun point system. 1 point if you reach someone, 5 points if you date a party and 10 points if you schedule a recruiting appointment. Give a small prize to the person who has the most points at the end of an hour. If your team is long distance, you can do the same thing. Designate team captains who will report back to you at the end of an hour with their team's point totals. You can give each winning team member a small prize.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Goals or Systems?

The Success Factory had a great article I wanted to share out with the team that made a lot of sense...

Subject: Would You Rather Have Goals or Systems? - by Dr. Phil Humpbert

This is the time of year when almost everyone sets goals and targets for the new year, and that is a GOOD thing! Always be clear about where you're going! Always have a destination, an outcome, a "next step" or target in mind. If you don't choose your goals in life, you are doomed to live without direction or purpose. Always know "what's next" in life!

At the same time, here's an interesting question: Would you rather have goals, or systems that automatically take you where you want to go in life?

I think the answer is obvious, but few people seem to really "get it."

Goals are wonderful. As I just wrote, goals are good! But systems are better.

The problem with goals is that they are always in the future. They are something to be worked on and achieved as soon as possible, but always in the future. Systems support us and enrich our lives immediately, today, right NOW!

Because they are in the future, goals can be easier to create than systems. Goals sound nice, and there's a kind of safety in knowing that we have goals "down the road" without having to disrupt our lives today.

New systems, on the other hand, can disrupt our lives, and sometimes upset important people around us. A goal to start a business "soon" is very different than coming home late every night because we're working on it. A goal to be slim, trim and strong "this year" is very different than adding a daily workout to your already busy schedule.

Systems (or habits) are the golden path to anything we want in life. Once you establish the system or pattern of daily exercise, fitness is no longer a goal. It becomes the automatic, inevitable result of what you "normally" do every single day. Fitness is a "side effect" of your system!

This is true of just about anything you want in life. My bias is that no one should set a "goal" to start saving! Instead, decide to save, then develop a system to IMMEDIATELY make saving automatic, fool-proof and easy. Join a payroll savings plan that makes it very hard NOT to save, and do it today.

Never set a "goal" to improve your marriage! Instead, develop a system that includes quality time every single day. Establish a system of weekly dates. Develop habits, ("systems") of careful listening, gentle sharing, and lots of hugs that will predictably lead to the results you prefer.

Systems beat goals every time!

Year after year, I have clients who are eager to set sales "goals," but few who are prepared to change their daily behaviors and develop systems that will guarantee more sales. Systems make success automatic, but can be uncomfortable, even painful, at first.

In the end, I recommend focusing on systems. Goals excite the imagination and give us a preview of coming attractions, but systems are the golden path to ultimate success. Systems give us control and empower us immediately. Systems will open doors and give you the life you truly want. -Dr. Phil Humpbert

Systems are what I try to put in place with making sure to have 5 contacts a day and also how I handle my prospects on a daily basis. The email templates I gave out to the team are also a system in order to be quick, concise, and thorough on handling your leads. Making things become a habit are critical to your success vs. just writing it down. Action = change.

I've got 2 big parties this weekend and I know a lot of the team does as well so look for some fun posts after those!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Beating the January Blahs...

The Success Factory had some great tips today and I wanted to share those and also make some comments on them as well. Before I do I wanted to share my weekend plans and how I'm trying to make the most of them. I had 4 parties scheduled for January and they were going quite well. As it happens, 1 of them had to cancel and I'm not sure yet if she's a reschedule or not. It would've been an awesome party and of course it sort of bummed me out temporarily but I made myself keep going and concentrate on the other things I had going. Party tomorrow night had emailed me a bit ago with an RSVP count of 4. Not bad but of course I'm pretty tough on the 8 people at a party to really make it worth it. I asked her to call the rest and give me a count yesterday so I could get all the product and prizes together.

I received her email yesterday to the tune of 10!!!! I was shocked. I've been working hard and was really hoping for a great party but that was seriously shocking and I've recruited my Mom to go with me to help out since it could be a few more than that and she likes to go.

My party on Sunday is with a potential recruit. The numbers were looking a little low but she's working to earn her kit so she knows we need to get enough to finish off her "earning." The first party had 5 people including her but was still $220 in sales! I almost died when I received her email today and low and behold she titled the email "I'm so excited!!!" Apparently she has even more people coming this time to the tune of possibly 12! Are you kidding me! So I invited Kelsey who lives in the same city and is joining the Hive at the end of the month. This will be a great training party for her AND it will totally help me in dealing with the #'s. So it'll be like having 3 consultants there! Luckily I had ordered a bunch of product "just in case." So hopefully I have enough to get through the weekend. Worse case I'll have them making 'something' and get their recipe and make the rest of it and send it to them.

Anyway - back to the tips from Success Factory - See below for the tips and I'll comment at the bottom.

Subject: Life in the real world - January Blahs Part 1

Real conversation - “My team was SO motivated and excited this fall, January has hit and now they don't know how their business is going to fit into their lives; what can I do to get them going again? It's a real bummer because I know I'm also not doing what I need to do to grow my business, so how can I be a good role model to them?”

TSF - Let's look at these issues. Generally speaking GUILT is the cause, and ACTION is the solution. It's easy to be lazy this time of year. Short, gray days quickly slip into weeks and before you know it, the month is gone and you've not done much (if anything) with your business. All the while you are beating yourself up, thinking about your business, but doing nothing. The longer you are inactive, the harder it is to get up and running again. Trust us, this is happening for many of your team members as well. (In fact, they feel so guilty they might not want to talk to you!)

So…here are some practical ideas for you to try. Today's tips will be some suggestions as to what you can do yourself to give your business a “jumpstart”, and tomorrow we will talk about some ideas as to what you can do with your team. These ideas are simple and doable. Just try picking out one or two to try; doing too many at the same time may be hazardous to your health!

1) Pick up the phone. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. 5-10 connected calls might feel like a million right now. So, our challenge to you is to call and connect with just one person today. Ask them how the products they purchased from you are working out and see how you can be of service to them this year. Would they like to host a party at ANY time this year? If so, what month were they thinking about and get permission to call them the month before to set up a date. Has their situation changed, and is this the year they might consider joining you in the business (remember, the answer is automatically, NO, if you don't ask).
Calling and connecting with just one person will feel so good, you will want to do the same thing again tomorrow!

2) You never say “no” to yourself, so schedule 2 dates (in close proximity to one another) at your home. Ask customers WHICH date they will be able to attend (vs. IF they can come!) Here are some theme ideas to try:
a) Mystery Hostess (one lucky guest in attendance gets her name drawn from a hat and receives all the hostess gifts)
b) Guinea Pig party (“come be my guinea pig; I'm trying out a new presentation and I'd love for you to come and tell me what you think”)
c) Margarita party - Mom's night out fiesta…Margarita's and nachos!
d) Preferred customer “sneak preview” of new or sale products.
e) Product focus - a presentation that concentrates on just one area of your product line.

You get the idea. Having something new to chat with your customers about pumps you up and gives you a REASON to get on the phone (we all need an excuse, right?) The ACTION of getting on the phone will get rid of the GUILT over not working your business AND will result in sales which of course means income to pay those holiday bills that are rolling in about now.
Remember, incentive trips and annual company promotions are not missed in the 4th quarter of the year, they are missed by what wasn't done in the 1st quarter!
Do YOU have a “theme party” idea that is working for you? We would LOVE for you to share it with us at TSF. PLEASE! Send us your ideas!

Shawna's Comments:

Ok so I would love for some of you to be featured in the Success Factory emails so if you do have an idea for a theme party please send it to them and me so we can share it out!

I think the one call or contact a day is great and I still think the 5 pennies will be really helpful to you as well. Once you get 5 no's you're done for the day! Yes's don't count remember. :)

I love the Guinea Pig party idea! That is huge for those of you trying to have your first parties! Remember that this makes it "ok" to mess up or to not know exactly what you're doing at times! Don't ever worry that you're not experienced enough. You might need 2-3 guniea pig parties before you really feel confident!?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A true queen tonite...

Taking a well deserved break tonite! Hubby surprised me with dinner and tickets to the Hinder concert in Seattle. I felt like I was 18 again! We sang Lips of an Angel all the way home. This was really outside of his box and I told him how much it meant to me. I know he's proud of all the work I've been doing with U.B. and it's actually most likely an early anniversary present. We'll be married 3 years on 2/13. Back at it 100% tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Top 10 Sins of Blog Usability

Linda Bustos had a great article on Site Pro News that talked about proper blogging and I wanted to share it out with the team (especially those with their own blogs). As more of an amateur I do the best I can with my non-technical background, but this article makes it easier to lose the excuses. (lol)

"Sinning" is an archery term, which literally means "to miss the mark." If you're blogging to establish a two-way dialogue with the world, the "mark" is the optimal reader experience. The following is a list of ten things that can hurt your blog's

10. Sending Mixed Messages
The focus of your blog should be decided before your first post and then committed to. Random blog entries about a melee of topics might work for a personal blog read by friends and family, but is not a good approach for a serious, professional blog. The lifeblood of any blog is in its loyal subscriber base. And readers are more willing to subscribe to blogs that talk about their area of interest on a consistent basis. If your blog's "personality" includes the odd personal entry, create a separate category for "fun stuff," "random" or other "personal," and think about each post's fit with your target audience before you publish. Or start a separate blog on that topic and cross-link your blogs.

9. Making It Hard to Subscribe
Because subscribers are such an important part of blogging success, you need to make it easy for users to sign up. Since not all users understand and use RSS feed aggregators like Feedburner ( and Bloglines (also called newsreaders), offer both email and RSS options. Make them very conspicuous, preferably placing them at the top of your navigation menu and above the fold.

Don't be afraid to "ask for the subscription" at the end of each post as well. Chicklets are mini-icons that make it easy to add to feed aggregators and social bookmark sites like [link= ( and Netvouz with one click. You can find more information on adding
chicklets to your blog with the Chicklet Creator ( If you are using free blog software and hosting, it may not be possible to add these extra functions. So plan ahead when choosing your platform.

8. Inconsistent Posting
Now that you have a loyal fan base who are notified of every new post, don't disappoint them with time lags between posts. Pick a posting schedule that's realistic for your time schedule and stick to it. If you can't think of anything to post about, blog about someone else's post related to your topic and include a
link back to that post.

Will this hurt your own blog to send subscribers away to another blog? No, because you're still offering them something useful in lieu of you posting something. You can also leave a comment or trackback on the other blog that links back to your post
which can send traffic back to you. Bloggers often monitor their trackbacks or incoming links through Technorati (, PubSub or other services. They might end up blogging about you in return.

7. No Contact Info
Some blogs can pull off the mystique of an anonymous posting. But if your website is for business, it's hard to have a two way dialogue when you make it impossible to contact you. Transparency is fundamental to building trust on the web. And you don't want users to mistake your reputable blog for a "splog" or spammy blog that scrapes content from other sites. If you don't want to advertise your email address because of spammers you can still enable comments on your posts. Yes you'll still get spammed, that's the reality of the Web. Wordpress ( blogs come with Akismet ( anti-spam which does a good job at
catching most spam. You usually have the option to moderate comments before they appear on your blog.

6. Not Moderating Comments
Allowing anyone and everyone to post whatever they want in your comments section is asking for spam. Not only is this annoying to your readers, but it really takes down the professionalism of your blog.

5. Excessive Advertising
It's fine to monetize your blog or use affiliate links, as long as they are not intrusive to users and overshadow useful content. When ads appear all over the page and even in the middle of posts, the user experience suffers. Avoid contextual
ads -- programs that highlight words in your posts to make them look like hyperlinks, but popup an ad when they are rolled over with a mouse. Just like having items appear clickable that are not has been a usability issue, so is tricking users into clicking on ads or viewing ads when they appear to be hyperlinks. And if your blog is very new, it's a good idea to wait until you've built up a history of useful posts before running advertising.

4. Not Linking to Posts
When you're referring to something that can be found on the Web such as a news story, another business, person or other blog post (whether on your own or someone else's blog), allow your reader to check out the background info. Linking back to
previous entries also builds page strength for those posts and can help you with search engine rankings. But don't be afraid to link off your site, this generosity can help you get noticed by other bloggers. And it's also nice to give credit where
credit is due.

3. Dark Background, Light Text
What's been a general usability rule for years certainly applies to blogs. Anything that makes your blog harder to read should be avoided. Remember, it's harder to read online than offline. The worst culprits for eyestrain are white text on a black
background, low contrast combinations like black with red and busy patterned backgrounds. And it's a good idea to avoid blocks of red text, even on a white background.

2. No Search Box
Returning visitors may not remember a post that's not intuitive to find through your navigation menu or tag system. Regular readers might also want to find their own comments, so make that possible by placing a search box somewhere in your layout.

1. Hiding Navigation
Most blog software comes with a variety of lovely templates to skin your site. But not all of these templates are optimal for usability. Templates that require users to scroll right down to the bottom of the blog to find navigation are not the best
choice. Stick to conventional left column or right column navigation.

One of social media's best gifts to the World Wide Web is the ability to "tag" posts by subject/content and automatically create navigation categories. Users can easily browse by subject, and hone in on all your posts related to a specific topic or microtopic. This also helps users find you on blog portals like Technorati.

You also have the option of displaying calendars, archives and tag clouds which may or may not be useful and can clutter up your page. Keep in mind that with usability and design, less is often more.

Taking some time to evaluate your blog, wearing the hat of your reader, can greatly improve the user experience. Considering what makes a user-friendly blog before you begin blogging helps you plan for optimal usability right from the start.

Linda Bustos is the Marketing Director for Image X Media, a Vancouver web design ( and Internet marketing ( firm. She also writes for the Smogger Social Media Blog (

Monday, January 15, 2007

Technical Difficulties...

So some of you have asked to post about how I work out scent challenges at a party and I thought it would make good blogging material. I decided to use a recent party and one of the challenging guests that took awhile to get the perfect match for.

One thing that I've learned and stay true to at all my parties is the following: SIMPLE = SALE!
The other night the majority of customers actually had 2 scents in their blend and they were HAPPY! Getting super complex on scents is usually for the gifted and those end up being less than 10% of usual party guests.

As I've preached before, I use the 3 step process at my parties and it cuts the time in 1/2 for many steps. The process goes like this: SHOP, START WITH 2, MIX & BUY.

STEP 1: SHOP - So basically this is the fun part and I tell everyone at the party to shop for 3-5 scents they like a lot and when they are done with writing those down they stop and take a smelling break. This allows them to not get overwhelmed and keep it simple. It also means that "next time" they'll want to try other things or look at other families they may have never gotten to and create something completely different. Once everyone is close to 5 scents we play the booking game and then we get to mixing.

STEP 2: START WITH 2 - This is where I have them pick 2 scents from the list they love and put one drop each into the mixing glass. Here are some examples of 5 scent combos and which ones I think would go well and which ones might get you into trouble...

Almond, Raspberry, White Musk, Heliotrope, Naked

So on this combo, WM and Helio go with all of them so scary there. Naked, Almond, and Raspberry are all very strong scents on their own. Putting those together may be too overpowering. Almond/Raspberry or WM/Raspberry, Helio/WM, Naked/WM, Naked/Helio, you get the idea.

White Musk and Sandalwood are my saviors when it comes to taking down sweet, floral, or citrus. Juniper is another great scent that can help with that. Here is another example.

Naked, Passion Fruit, Brown Sugar, Grapefruit, Chocolate

Ok this is complex. It can be easy to get a sugar overload and citrus and sweet don't always a great mix make. They are all VERY strong scents on their own. If you start mixing these and the person just isn't sure about it you may need to bring in a mediator such as sandalwood or white musk, etc. to bring down the strength. Here is what I would start with as the first 2 for some of these. Then I would say, do you think we're going in the right direction with these scents? Some people think they just need more or they might need something to better connect the 2 in there but they still like it. If they say it's not the right direction at all, start over now! Don't wait or you'll both become frustrated.

Naked/Passion Fruit, Naked/Brown Sugar, Naked/Grapefruit, Naked/Chocolate, Chocolate/Brown Sugar, Passion Fruit/Chocolate

Last example is more of an herby nightmare LOL -

Almond, Lavender, White Musk, Basil, Spearmint

Ok so in looking at these I'm really going to find out which one of these they like the best. I'm then going to suggest other families like Leafy or Woodsy for them to find a complientary scent as well. See below:

Lavender/White Musk, Basil/Spearmint, Almond (choose a spicy or fruity with this), Basil (choose a leafy most likely with this or bag it) Lavender (also a floral would be great here or heliotrope in a leafy).

I honestly have the hardest time with Herbies and they came up at a lot of parties so you need to remember to have a solution with Almond and Lavender you can suggest. Sometimes they can just figure it out. Bergamot in the spicies is great with Lavender and can be softened with WMusk.

One last example with some more floral scents:

Jasmine, Lilac, Mimosa, Violet, Naked

All of these can go great together. Just start with 2!
STEP 3: MIX & BUY - Always ask your hostess before hand who is the one that loves to spend $ and buys everything? Make sure that you start with her for the mixing process. Know a couple people in case one is taking longer to get her scent together. Start by saying, were you planning on doing the party special tonite? She is hopefully the one that will jump on it and can set the precedent for others to follow. You gotta love that domino effect!

Hopefully this helps some of you wondering how to handle that tough person or just where to get started. Working out the ratios can also be a bit confusing. Just remember that if you're going the "right direction" you may need to up the ratios of one to balance out the other. The perfume we made the other night was 1 Chocolate to 4 Coconut and 4 Vanilla. It took that many to get the Chocolate in a happy place. If you are ALL Chocolate, you may only need 2 of each of the others. Just keep going until the person is all about it!

You have to just go for it and run into challenges in order to get past them and become really skilled at your craft! Team Elite will allow you to do just that with 5 parties a month! ;)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Emie's Big Debut

I was so happy to receive Emie's phone call today (Oregon)! She had attended her first flea market sharing the UB crusade with lots of passerbyers and showing them her own scent creation (a delightful mix of Egyptian Musk, Lavender, and Chamomile). A women was so impressed with the scent she told Emie to please make her up a bottle of lotion right there and she bought it on the spot. It was a great confidence builder for Emie who I know had been concerned about her own scent making abilities.

I told her about my keep it simple remedy and really getting GOOD with 3 scent combinations and then getting fancier after mastering it. She gave out around 100 business cards today which she had fondly sprayed with her new signature fragrance. She made me laugh so hard when she told me she would watch the women walk away and rub her card on their neck. Obviously this spraying the business card works better than even I had imagined!!

Emie and I will be doing a joint flea market the weekend of Jan 27/28 in Eugene. I'm excited to meet her and to help her really get jamming in OR. I know she'll get some great party leads from the market and also that the more she gets the word out the better confidence she exudes about the company.

One woman demanded that she call her friend who owns a retail shop immediately and talk to her about this fun concept. Might be a great way to help get Emie to Team Elite overnight!
Obviously the city of Eugene has no idea what hit them and I'm really a proud mama bee today after hearing about her success. I know she's going to be incredible because she's more worried about serving others than herself. She told me that after she gets her 3 recruits for team elite she'd like to help other members of the hive to get theirs. With that type of determination there won't be any stopping Miss Emie!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Great Team Conference Call

Today we were lucky to have McKenna Gordon (founder of UB) join us on The Hive call. For playback of the call you can listen at: Free Conference Play Back Playback Number: (641) 985-5009 Access Code: 805628#

We covered some great topics including advertising techniques, working with small store owners, Open Houses vs. actual Parties, and a whole plethora of great ideas! I'm super excited about the caliber of this team and everyone's willingness to really dive in and help one another. So far we've had 2 team members have their first parties and those went really well. We have 3-5 other members that have their parties booked for this month so I'm really excited to have February's call to really fine tune the team's progress.

I agreed to do the Eugene Home Show with Emie in OR the last weekend of the month in January. It will be a great opportunity to really get things rocking there. While husbands are dragging their wives to look at landscaping and power tools, our booth will be a little retreat of heaven to get them to book parties and enjoy the possibilities of their own signature fragrance. The price is only $22.00 a day so I'm loving this opportunity to work a trade show for next to nothing $ wise. And of course the opportunity to meet a Hive member in person. I can't wait for the Elite Retreat and hopefully will be able to meet a ton of them there as well! We need to help Corp come up with the perfect venue. I'm of course wanting Vegas or some place cruizy. We'll see!

Well I'm off to do some prospecting and will report back. So far I received about 60 personality tests and product leads to my website from the DC ad on the 11th. It's great exposure but I think it's a bit pricey to do again. If it was a 1 week ad vs. a 1 day ad then that would be better. Oh well live and learn! I did have a call last night from a potential recruit in Seattle. She will hopefully be attending my Open House on the 25th. I think having someone downtown would just be awesome as I'm about 25 minutes from the city. Hopefully I'll be adding her to the Hive.

BIGGEST NEWS: We're in TEXAS! I'm so excited that Mary Ann Hansen has joined The Hive and brought us into the incredible state of Texas. She is close to Corpus Christi and I know she'll do an awesome job putting UB on the map there. That makes 17 states for UB. I can't wait to be 1/2 way there with 25!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Incredible new Blog by The Glamorous Bee - Bernadette Pasley

Not only did I get the excitement of my Daily Candy ad yesterday, but also an exciting new blog done by Bernadette Pasley in New York, better known as the The Glamorous Bee!

She did an amazing job and I'm looking forward to sending out samples to all of her loyal readers. SAMPLES? Uh yah! First time I'm experimenting with it but we'll see how it goes. I've ordered my sample jars (tiny cute little jars) off of Ebay and will be filling them with a lotion sample (little less than a tablespoon) to send out to her readers (U.S. only). I am creating a scent for each family and hopefully will drive some sales volmes as well from this gig! Bernadette is super creative and came up with the sample idea. I'm thinking most likely around 50 readers to ask for the sample, but I'll let you know what the volume actually is. She's also leaving my ad up on her site (button that links to the site) so that will be interesting to see where it goes...

Some other Hive members have done some pretty incredible stuff as well lately! For instance, google Urban Botanic, and on the right is a google ad done by Lauri! It's fabulous and I hope it drives some much deserved traffic her way. Karen has been busy as well and has some great ads, including one in her local newspaper coming out in the next week.

I hope everyone in The Hive is having a rockstar start to the month and qualifying for Team Elite (or whatever we'll name it this week)! We have 9 inches of snow here in Seattle and it's so beautiful outside I almost wish it was like this every day of winter! I know that for some of you in more remote locations it can be a little more difficult to find ways to advertise but I ran across 100 ways to get the word out on a work at home site and thought it was worth sharing! Visit to see them all. Here are a few of my personal favorites below:

..1. Take a small zip close baggie (snack sizes work well) and include the following in it:Your Business Card, Business Oppty Mini Flyer, a Piece of Candy such as hard candy or a lollipop, mini flyer of current host specials, discount coupon (optional) etc.

..3. Print out flyers with your contact info (not your personal address), your website address & email address along with any current specials you are offering.Then contact local area mobile home park offices, apartment complex rental offices, housing developments etc and ask them if you can leave fliers in their office or hang on their tenants doors. Give the office employees a free gift or discount on their personal orders.

4. Contact local area bridal supply stores, bridal gown stores, caterers, tux rental centers, wedding dj's etc. Ask them if you can leave your business cards & fliers about the great (Company Name) Bridal Gift Registry for them to give to their customers.Offer store owners a free gift or a personal discount for helping you spread the word about your business.

..8. College Campuses! Dorms & Housing Students are always looking to spend money! A lot of college students are also looking for an extra income so target them with the Business Oppty too!

..10. Contact your local area hospitals and ask for Human Resources Dept. The Majority of hospitals hand out New Mommy Diaper Bags filled with products, samples and other stuff for New Moms who just had a baby!It's FREE for you to add in your information! I have gotten party hosts, new customers and new recruits by participating in these types of programs.

OK THIS ONE I ADORE! How about their own custom baby scent lotion????

..11. Contact your local medical offices, particularly Gynecology and OB Offices and Pediatric Offices and inquire about you leaving information with them. This is a way for you to target Parents of Children with the home party oppty, the business oppty and new customer sales.

..14. Call your Chamber of Commerce and find out about Local Area Job Fairs. Get a booth and set up info about the fabulous business oppty!

..16. Contact local area car dealerships. I have 2 in my local area that hand out a small packet that I made up for FREE to their customers who come in to take a free test drive!

..21. Contact local small companies and shops to see if you can offer an exclusive discounts or freebie gift to their employees. Companies are always looking for a way to "treat" their employees to specials from the local surrounding community.

..26. Contact small local area businesses such as hair salons, massage parlors, boutiques, banks etc.See if you can set up a table for 1 week with 3 of your best selling products on it along with some catalogs, fliers, coupons and your business card. Keep a basket on the table for any customer orders which you can follow up on after you return back to pick up your display. Offer the store owner or manager a free gift for allowing you to do this.You can also offer to donate a prize for a contest if they let you display the prize donated & get a copy of the contestants entry blanks after the promotion closes.

..38. Contact local area hotels, motels and bed & breakfast inns and ask them if you can do up a Lobby Basket and leave it in their Lobby.What is a Lobby Basket? You make up little packs of info about your business & products and put them into the Lobby Basket for their patrons to take.They usually have a pamphlet wall or area too with pamphlets from local area attractions etc. If they don’t have a lobby basket area, inquire about leaving your business info in their pamphlet area.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Daily Candy Ad hits the presses

I'm so excited to show you the Daily Candy Ad that went out for my personal site today. It was a bit pricey as this is a one day ad but I'm extremely excited to see the kind of results I get and am really hoping for a huge ROI, which of course aren't we all!? Here is the link to the sweet smell of success...

This ad is for Seattle-ites so hopefully it will help to up my personal volume and also those of my local teammates. Right now I have 4 parties for January and would love to add in a few more. Nothing like getting done early with a goal like Team Elite! Didn't think about trying to be 1st on that one as well!? Hmmm - note to self LOL. As soon as I start to focus in an area it's like magnetism. I was so worried about having enough parties and all that jazz and now they are starting to pop up everywhere so that's a nice surprise (ok not really a surprise if you're following the law of attraction in The Secret (!

On a different note, I had a great chat with my teammate Anne in Colorado last night. She was wanting to touch base on finding her own scent and also just preparing for her party on the 21st for some mixing 101 Shawna style! This of course means that "I" who have no natural scent making capability but am still miraculous to help others in creating their own, was giving advice on finding her personal scent and the fact that sometimes there are mediating scents that can really improve your creation. Here are a few scents that save my butt all the time:

  • Juniper - This scent is what my mother has labeled "Mr. Clean." It seems if something is too floral (on the sweeter side) or seems a bit muddy, Juniper can come to the rescue many a time. Almost everyone loves Juniper so it's a sure thing.
  • White Musk - This scent helps to turbo boost other scents and is stronger than Egyptian Musk so you can use "less" of it to moderate a scent. It's also a personal favorite of mine and is a woodsy favorite that mixes well with almost anything.
  • Sandalwood - Another woodsy that is awesome with fruitys, florals, and leafys. It tones down "too sweet" really well and those that love a fruity scent but think it's too strong seem to become good friends with this base note.
  • Lily - Another surprise scent I find with other florals - Lily is super clean and light and just yummy overall. For a super light and clean scent for those that just can't seem to find what they're looking for try Lily, Egyptian Musk, and Juniper. Very nice!
  • Brown Sugar - Try this with Fig and any other spicy and it's a total hit. Add it to a fruity and watch what it does! Something fun, deeper, and gives your scent an edible flair.

That edible comment brings me back to the "daily candy" post - hopefully I'll be feasting on some great new prospects in the week to come. ;)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dealing with my own ambiguity

I have finally come to the conclusion that I really NEED a business coach. After working with Ladies Who Launch and other networking groups, I've learned that having someone I'm accountable to that isn't a relative, a teammate, or anyone else that I deal with on a daily basis and who can take all of my creativity, ideas, and chaos and make some sense out of it. The biggest thing that I look for in my coach is someone to help me reach the next level and bring some organization and process into my life. Karrie sent me a questionnaire that I needed to fill out. I've included my answers and the questions as I think they are important things you need to consider in your own lives. Below you'll also find info on Karrie...

PRE-EMPT - The answers to my questions are personal and pretty aggressive. I don't want anyone on the team feeling like they should have the same goals or they won't succeed. Let's just say I'm going to work Karrie like a dog and get my $'s worth (j/k sort of LOL). I'm sharing these so that you can ask yourself these questions and truly know your answers or your "why."

Visit to see her credentials, etc.

Initial Client Questions Thoughtshot Consulting

You’ll find 10 questions below to get us started. Please answer these questions and email them back to me before we meet. There is no right way to do this. Your answers may be short and specific or long, exploratory answers. I just want to get a sense of where you are with your project or business.

1. Describe your business.

Urban Botanic is a party plan start up that just launched nationwide in late 2006. The company brings the glamour of signature fragrances like Paris Hilton or Hillary Duff have achieved with lots of bucks to the regular person living in Seattle or anywhere in the US for that matter to be able to have their own custom fragrance that really says who they are and portrays their personality.

2. Why do you want to do this business?

I’ve always had a passion for glamorous and pretty things and being part of the "IT" crowd. Fragrance is dreamy and takes me to another place and it’s an equal playing field for anyone so I enjoy the experience I’m able to give others by bringing this to them. It’s also a great way to fill my own love of being in the spotlight and being the it girl for friends, family and consultants all over the nation.

3. How long ago did you conceive of this business? How long have you since been actively working on it?

I was approached in August by the founder and her father and they created a sample fragrance for me based on some personal achievements in my life. It was so awesome I couldn’t believe how I felt when I opened it and I absolutely adored the fragrance. This was a start of a new beginning.

4. What is the current state of your business?

I am the first manager in the company and have 10 people currently on my team. That will change to 12-13 by the end of January and maybe more. Lately I feel like I've become a magnet to those looking at UB and I want to keep up the momentum.

5. Where are you feeling solid / good / strong in this business or in thinking about it?

I definitely think I have the recruiting thing down but I’d like to turbo boost it and be able to duplicate what I’m doing within the team. I think I’m confident, a go-getter and have lots of great ideas but sometimes they get lost or I try to focus on too many things and nothing really gets the oomph behind it that it needs due to all the randomizing in my head.

6. What areas feel sluggish or where do you personally feel stopped when thinking about this business?

I actually want to get more personal business and parties and move more product. Building a team is great but moving product is where I get paid, they get paid, and I get paid on their production so it’s imperative that I be awesome in that space.

7. What would you ultimately like to see happen with this business?
What is your desired outcome?

I’d love to make millions and have a team that loves and adores me. I’d like to take the business to a new level and really work to have corporate listen to what I say and move in those directions. I’d love to be the main speaker at events and have other companies want to interview me, etc. for my accomplishments.

8. What are 3 things that must happen to move this business forward?
Which of those feels easy? Which challenge you?

More people hired and more product sold. I think the product piece is actually the most challenging for me right now, or figuring out how to equally put myself into both spaces.

9. Why were you interested in my consulting services?
What do you expect to gain from working with me?

I recently joined Biznik and found you on there and I liked what you had to say and the fact that you had been in Corp and had left and shared a lot of the same sentiments about Corp America. I can’t stay there, I’ll suffocate and die and I can see the light so it’s even more frustrating and more frightening to think I could actually end up there for life. So this is my ticket and I really want to make sure that I’m successful and those on my team are and it’s my total passion. I hope that you can help me be the best I can be and see other avenues that I haven’t learned yet in marketing and bringing more people in and selling more product so that I become invincible and totally duplicatable.

10. Rate (1-10) how you feel about your current ability in these areas (even if they seem not to apply to your current business or situation):

organization __3__ managing money__2__ managing people__8__ managing time_4___

self discipline__0__ technology__7__ marketing yourself__8__ results __7__

Thanks for answering these questions and sending them to me before we meet. This will not only give me a good starting point for working with you but it will also stimulate your mind to think more specifically about what you want to focus on before we meet.

I've set it up to work with Karrie 1x per month for the next 10 months. This will help me to put in place duplicatable systems in order to assist the team in building and moving product consistently and managing time and people. I know this investment will make a big difference for me and I plan to share my knowledge with The Hive so that everyone wins!

Karrie and I really hit it off and I will keep all of you informed of our development in our new relationship LOL. I want to be clear that this isn't for everyone and the upfront expense (hourly rate for Karrie is $150.00) is definitely a challenge but in checking in with her referrals they all told me how much working with her had changed their businesses for the better and they were all from different paths. So being the "roll the dice" kind of girl that I am we'll see how it goes! Best case we put some incredible processes in for the team and really automate this.