It’s a beautiful, sunny, late winter day here in good ol’ Minnesota. I was feeling a bit stir-crazy so I set out to go visit some shops in my cute little town. I wandered into one of my favorite furniture consignment stores and had a sudden feeling of dread. They were having a party! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good party. But this kind of party makes me feel bad. It was a party with vendors from all sorts of multi-line, tiered marketing scheme businesses. I won’t name names, but you know what I’m talking about.
Instantly I felt a sense of panic. The first booth, tucked in among the vintage consignment furniture was a woman selling cosmetics. She was offering a party! Another PARTY! “It’s in a week, and it’s gonna be a makeover party and I’m partnering up with another multi-tiered marketing business owner that will make some appetizers! It’s going to be so fun!”
I saw her look at my totally naked not-a-lick-of-makeup face and wonder if I was too far gone for her party. I didn’t tell her that any makeup, no matter what kind and from where leaves me with burns on my skin because I am so sensitive that if I even look at makeup I need Hydracortizone cream.
Against my better judgement, I kept moving through the store. I need a comfy reading chair, and I was there already. So, why not keep looking, I thought to myself.
I should have turned around and taken my ugly, fat, poor posture, no bling-ed ass and gone home. There was so much wrong with me according to all of the booths at this show. I can’t believe that I don’t already use health shakes, and body wraps that melt away the fat (if I only knew before now I’d be so skinny!). Earrings and necklaces and dish clothes and cleansing product and health supplements and do-it-yourself jewelry kits. My life could be so much better! I didn’t even know walking into that store today that I wasn’t good enough.
And here’s the kicker. Every one of the people selling this stuff was a woman. A woman who has bought into the idea that in order to have her own business she has to sign up to sell someone else’s stuff. She has to be a “down-line” and hold up her part of the bargain so that anyone above her can make money off of her selling these products. And worst of all, she has bought into the idea that she has to sell a product that women need because they aren’t pretty, blingy, skinny, or fill-in-the-blank enough.
But at the end of the day, these businesses often makes that very woman feel like a failure. She’s spent savings, convinced her husband/mom/friends that this is going to be IT. She will be self-employed and she’ll go to conventions where they celebrate the winners. And now she will be a winner. Except what usually happens is that all of the “training” she receives from said product company results in the woman alienating her friends and family by forcing her products and parties and SOLUTIONS on them. She’s lucky if she makes just enough to pay back her initial investment, but then, she’s tired and feels icky.
I was pleasantly surprised to see one product line there that I have not seen before: it’s called Damsel in Defense. The vendor was telling the women there how to protect themselves while they are shopping in a store; how to get out of a strangle hold if someone attacks, and just how to be smart about safety. Now this…THIS is good stuff. Empowering women to take care of themselves and to protect themselves is amazing. I love this product. Here is a little brochure I picked up. And what I loved about Mary, the lady giving the talk, was she looked like a regular women…she wasn’t dolled up and blinged up. She was strong and powerful. And guess where all the shoppers were? Standing around her booth, listening to her advice.
So ladies, instead of investing in turn-key businesses that promise fast profits and pink cars, let’s do this:
let’s start business THAT MATTER.
That empower and show leadership. That when the next time I walk into a vendor fair, there are women at booths that make me feel strong, free, brave, independent, and loved. And perfect just the way I am. Yeah, let’s do that. And call Mary and get some safety tips…she rocks.
P.S. Want to start a business and think that these types of businesses are your only option? THINK AGAIN!!! Let’s talk about what makes you feel awesome, what you are really, really good at, and what you can do to create the business of your dreams.