My first business failed, and here’s what I learned from it

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My first business failed. It was a total flop. I was done in a year. However, the experience wasn’t a total failure. It was a learning experience for me. For that, I am grateful. What did I do? I sold health and beauty products via direct sales or multi level marketing whatever you wish to call it.

So, Why did I get into that business…

I liked the products, and the idea of using them at a discounted rate. I liked going to the motivational meetings and meeting new people in my industry. Marketing was my major, so making newsletters, and promotional material was great! I liked arranging the products so they looked beautiful and caught your eye. I liked writing descriptions about each of them. The idea of being my own boss was very appealing! Having my own business cards made me feel legit 🙂

So, why did my business fail?

The core part of the business, selling these products for commission, I did not like at all. I did not like the idea of trying to get my friends and family to buy these products.They aren’t ‘prospects’ they were my friends and family! It felt really uncomfortable, as I strongly prefer to keep my personal life and work life separate. Frankly, I just didn’t like direct sales.

What I mean by that….

So, here’s an example. Let say I’m a shoe cobbler. But, I don’t like repairing shoes. It’s about like that. I was a direct sales representative who did not like to do direct sales. But, it goes a littler deeper than just that.

(Now, make no mistake. I’m not bashing multi-level marketing/direct sales. I have many friends that sell products via direct sales and are very happy! They are honest, they are passionate about growing their business, but genuine at the same time. I’ve met people who do direct sales so they can take care of their kids during the day, while contributing to their family’s income. There are people who did it because they were laid off, and the additional income was very helpful! )

I did not like selling other people’s products

I liked the aspects supporting the selling of the products. The promotion, newsletters, the photography, creating my own product descriptions to make people want to buy the products; I really enjoyed all of that! But, that wasn’t my job. My job was to go out to my friends and family and sell the products, and get a ‘down line’ to sell with me. The company already did that support marketing stuff so I could just go sell the products.

I want my business to be MY business

I’m talking about my products, my rules everything. The direct sales business is great for people who want to sell product and make their commission, move on. You don’t have to worry about the details just sell product! But, after this failed business, I learned that I don’t like selling other peoples stuff. I also learned that I need to have control over my business and my product. I needed to be the one in charge of researching trends, my competition, what customers want in a particular product, and pricing competitively. My product is unique, you can only find it with me! It can only be replicated by me. I did not like the idea of selling the exact same products, as hundreds of other people within my company were selling.

When it comes to my business, I have to be passionate about it!

I was not passionate about my direct sales business. I liked the products I was selling, but I didn’t love them. They weren’t mine, and I had no say in the making of them. I just had these products that were nice, and I was hoping to make some money selling them. I figured they were good enough that they would just sell themselves once I could get people to try them! Well, even with a direct sales business, it takes a lot more than that. The ones that are successful are persistent. They aren’t afraid to call you up trying to get you to buy their product! They were the one’s hustling to get parties on their calendar, and encouraging people to join their down line. Their love of what they did and sold was evident when I spoke to them. They wanted their friends to benefit from this business opportunity.  Their gift was sales. More power to to them! My gift is not sales.

I couldn’t justify the cost of the product

The products were good, don’t get me wrong, but….were they that good? I couldn’t even justify purchasing many of the products, and I had a discount. Thus, it was really difficult for me to ask someone else to do so, especially friends and family. Of course, they tell you the pro’s of the products to justify the price to handle objections. But, when I don’t even use many of the products because I can’t afford to…..well, that’s a bit of a problem. I understand every representative wants their commission! and hostesses get perks too.  So, you have to charge more to cover for that. But, even with the commission it was difficult for me to purchase the products I was selling, over the grocery store brand that worked as well.

Not everyone is good

Like I said earlier I have met many good genuine ethical direct sales representatives. However, not everyone is good. Some are as money hungry as they get, and will say and do anything for the sale. Some just have no people skills. For example….

  • One representative suggested selling weight loss shakes to overweight people working out at the gym. Saying you’ve been there and these products can help! (She suggested this at a sales meeting)
  • One representative told me our acne line could really help clear up my skin. I was using that acne line with no avail! That comment made me feel like crap, I would never buy from her. (I’m happy to say I’ve gotten control over that issue 🙂 )
  • One representative of a supplements multi-level marketing business called me several times after I told him I wasn’t interested. I told him I had done direct sales in the past and did not like doing it. It still took six more no’s before he would let up. That goes beyond persistent, and into obnoxious

These people I don’t think meant any harm, they may have been genuinely trying to help! But, their approach was rather abrasive. I don’t want to be associated with that.

Yes, my first business failed. But, it wasn’t a failure.

1.I learned that in order to succeed at anything in business, you can not be ‘comfortable’ all the time.  If I had not gone out of my comfort zone, I never would have known that I enjoy marketing and not direct sales. They are two different beasts.

I learned that in order to succeed at anything in business, you can not be ‘comfortable’ all the time.

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2. It helped me succeed in business after my business failed. I learned what didn’t work! That is just as valuable, it leads you to what does work!

3. I learned the value of promotion! The business isn’t just going to come to you, you have to get your name out there and promote!

4. I learned what I wanted in a business. I wasn’t able to go immediately into another business, but I knew what I wanted out of a business, after experiencing what I didn’t want.

You have only failed if you don’t learn from failure.

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If you have a business that failed, I implore you to not see yourself as a failure! You have only failed if you don’t learn from failure. You can come back from a failed business stronger and more informed! and be very successful in your new venture 🙂 I’m pullin’ for ya!




Welcome to My Career Journey! I use my very unique career path to help you grow your business and career!
I’ve lived in seven different states over the past ten years. That’s a lot of jobs! Different industries, and different work cultures! Both good and bad 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to helping you grow!

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