Let's Talk Business
“Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself”
HAH! WHAT??!!!! When I first saw this quote I actually rolled my eyes. By the way, yes, I’m 12 years old still, and totally roll my eyes when I feel like people spout irresponsible, ignorant, or pretentious mumbo jumbo. This quote is ALL of that.
First of all, how irresponsible is it to be in business and not make money? That is literally the POINT of being in business…. It is not like I go bat crazy every day trying to make everything run smooth, keep my employees happy, the bills paid, and worry like I do, just for fun-sies.
This may come as a shock, but I do keep so many thoughts on this subject to myself. I am more of a people pleaser naturally, and hate to possibly offend others who are probably a lot more sensitive than me. But I want to illustrate a clear example of businesses that go through so much TROUBLE to not even profit enough or pay themselves.
Business models such as Buy-In groups on Facebook are the first that come to mind. If you are not familiar with this term, it is basically where someone will post a preorder sale for an item like a Knock-off Name Brand bag, shoes, or clothing (basically anything), in a group for their friends or family, for much cheaper than the retail value. If they can get 50-100 orders, they will take everyone’s money and buy it from China, and cross their fingers.
Often times, these orders can take months, can be seized in customs (because often the products are ILLEGAL), can be complete crap quality, and may even be dangerous (i.e. Fake Makeup made with stuff like Pesticides). There is so much RISK to running this style of business model, and to literally make what, $1 or $3 dollars profit for all of that trouble? There is case after case of the FBI raiding peoples homes and businesses for selling fake stuff, and seizing all of their assets, bank accounts, and even slapping cuffs on some of them. Yet, this trend continues and people think it will never happen to them. People who run these groups often skip out on taxes that legit business owners have to pay and well that is a huge gamble and a risk of their livelihood and their families just to make $2 on those knockoff Beats Headphones.
I often see stay at home moms that run themselves ragged making t shirts for everyone and barely make a couple dollars in profit too. This is not a sustainable business model. With the internets vast information right at your finger tips, anyone can start an at home business. But, some just aren’t aware or fully understand all the effort of researching, organizing, marketing, purchasing, packaging, shipping and so on, as time or energy that they should be paid for. Why do you think businesses mark products up and sell them? To cover all of those costs and overhead like I just listed.
I would like to add to that next time you think a businesses products are too expensive, or they are greedy – think of all these costs and lets not forget the rent, insurance, utilities, employee payroll, software, equipment costs, warranty, supplies, and of course, Uncle Sams pretty little cut to that. Maybe it will help one to understand that it does take money, and REVENUE for a business to stay in business. Sadly, the ones who take to long to figure this part out don’t last, burn out quick, and often times are left LOSING money.
THIS is real life. There are so many people that do not even know the real value of their time or efforts. They want to be the CHEAPEST seller in the market, or discount everything for their friends and lose the potential profit because they want to be nice. But, It is nice to have money to pay them bills and pay yourself so quit giving it all away. You are not Oprah! You don’t expect a discount when you go to pay your electric bill, or checkout at Market Basket, and your customers should value your product or services at the agreed upon price without having to discount it.
Listen, I’m not the Donald Trump of business but there are times where I wish I could just tell Susan that although she appears to have a great business, and lots of customers, that she is going to be eating A LOT of Ramen Noodles if she doesn’t figure out how to price her products or services.
Well, if you can muster anything from that soapbox I just went on, it is if your guilty of this, QUIT undervaluing your time, working for free, and stop taking time away from your families (or risking that possibility) to not even pay yourself! Business is definitely about money and if you disagree, you can just go now and enjoy being naive.
The next eye-roll is for people who are just faking it to make it. I know people who have mountains of debt from buying, buying, and continuing to buy when they don’t even have PROFITS to buy with. This is the equivalent of putting your $100 bill into a slot machine hoping to win at least $200. You get so excited when you finally win $20 on one spin, but then you quickly lose it all. So, you are out of money but you slide over and give another machine another $100 and just keep going, assuming that the odds have to be in your favor eventually.
Your business should not be a huge gamble everyday. It should be a marathon, slow and steady, and pacing yourself for the future. Find what works and focus in on that. If you have product or services that you can’t get people on board with after you have done all the work (marketing and sales), then you may want to mark items down so you can recoup your investment, and buy something new. Don’t just keep putting those bills into the same slot machine that isn’t paying you!
It's always nice to at least break even at the casino, but that is not why we gamble! We gamble in business to hit it BIG and make more money than what we came with. Yet, I know people who run BIG sales so they can appear busy and successful and show that they are shipping hundreds of packages out to customers, but in reality aren’t making ANY money on those items.
It is WILD to be in business just to be BUSY, and not make MONEY.
I also see a lot of wasted energy and people who are working too hard, for too little. Maybe you have too!
Do you know anyone who swears you too can find financial freedom to quit your job just from posting on facebook, or win a vacation & kudos, or grow your teams of sales people every month and make THOUSANDS? Know anyone from high school that you haven’t talked to in YEARS who suddenly wanted to help you change your life by trying this miracle shake? I’m sure you don’t have to scroll to far on Facebook to find someone willing to share just how much money they made this month and how you can do the same.
Some (but definitely not all) of those people are the loudest about how much they make, or how much potential earnings you can have. Except, I know a lot of people who join or sign up as independent distributors for these companies who have NO money to pay their bills at the end of the day, who have NO results from the weight loss products they boast, or NO miracle oil cure for their actual medical condition. Also, some have NO respect or boundaries when it comes to hitting up peoples DM’s just to let them know their miracle product that would be perfect their mommy pooch… yeah, THANK YOU for that by the way, Melissa!
Just imagine going through all the work of sharing how great your new found product is, making people commit to months of buying so much, and even buying product yourself to stay in compliance, or having to find 3 new people you can hopefully convince to join your amazing team EVERY month. Think of ALLLLLL that work and stress, and to end up not even making the real money you deserve or even going into debt for it.
Would you go to a car dealership and work 60 hours a week, cold call everyone you have ever met from any walk of life, or even drive around a truck you don’t even like to prove how great it is, to only make a $250 commission check at the end of the month? Probably not, so quit believing everyone who swears they are making thousands and getting rich off of every multi-level marketing company.
The part of me that tries to understand where people might be coming had to counter argue all of what I just typed out and figure out why I WAS so annoyed at this quote. So… after unloading all those disagreements you just read, I did agree with something. If you want to be in business, it should be with something you love, or are passionate about. Not just to make a quick buck or flip some merchandise. When you aren’t happy and accomplishing your goals or dreams, you will get burnt out, tired, and eventually fail. You will stop enjoying baking cakes, or decorating peoples homes, or pressing vinyl t-shirts, no matter if you do make some dolla bills from it if you do it from a place of resentment. Business is not about money in that respect, its about having a purpose. Your purpose can be helping others, sharing your art, giving the best hair cuts, or even ringing up groceries.
Contrary to what society wants you to believe, not everyone can find some great big purpose in their work though and that is okay. To be honest, no matter where you choose to work, or even if you create work, there will be things you hate about it, people that drive you crazy, or stress that you can’t anticipate (EVEN if it is your passion). Not everyone can save the world, or cure cancer. I think the person who picks up my garbage each week probably doesn’t feel much purpose in this world, but if I had to stop everything I was doing to bring my trash to the dump, I might not have time to go to my kids basketball practice, or time to go see my Memaw, so the trash collector even plays a very important purpose in my life!
After being in business for a couple years now, and growing from one part time employee who helped me package up jewelry and ship it out, to now employing about 13-15 other people, and myself, and hopefully one day several more; I do understand the rest of this quote. Business is MORE than just money and it is also about making dreams come true for myself and others.
When I first opened the doors and we sold ANYTHING, we were excited. We didn’t know what to expect or if the doors would be open for more than a few months. Thankfully they were, and now we have daily goals, and breakeven numbers to make sure they stay open. I do everything in my limited power available to make sure we accomplish those goals so my employees are taken care of no matter what.
But not just taken care of and getting a pay check every other Friday…. I love seeing an employee show up happy to get to work, and happy to find their fulfillment. I love when they are buying new furniture for their homes, or upgrading their vehicles, or buying their kids tumbling lessons or Christmas gifts with the money they EARNED from my business and dream.
Not only that, I love being able to give people a place where they feel their value, and that they are part of something that does have an impact in others lives. I know selling cakes and clothes isn’t saving lives either, but I know how much it means for a mama to have the perfect cake for her kids birthday! I know how hard it is for women to feel confident in their selves, so we love providing them clothes that help compliment them and that they are excited to wear! I know my employees enjoy meeting these people, and helping them, and developing these relationships with customers and coworkers that impact their lives. Heck, I still think about those times where a customer has come in and left grinning from ear to ear just because they didn’t have to drive to a bigger city to find something they were looking for. It’s not hard to have a good day when you are helping customers find some joy.
I know that I can’t accomplish much if it was just me. There would be no growth, no ways to scale and spread my ambitions without my employees. That is why we try our best to make sure they are taken care of, appreciated, and have opportunities for growth and achievement. As we continue to grow and make plans for the future of this company, I can’t wait to say that someone who started washing dishes for us worked their way to management, or to owning their own franchise. So yes, my wins are my employees wins and my success is their success! Maybe this quote should read “Business is not JUST about money. It’s about having sustainable profits that allow achievable dreams for others and for yourself.”