Jessica Herrin is a remarkable woman. She’s the founder and CEO of the direct sales company Stella and Dot, which is currently on pace to do about 500 million in sales in 2016. In the 10 years since Jessica launched her business in her family room, they have sold more than $1 billion in products, and have paid out more than $300 million in commissions to it’s partners.
Not bad for a costume jewelry company.
On top of that, she’s transforming an old and misunderstood industry – direct sales (also known as MLM) – to work for women who want to create and build a business in today’s fast-paced world.
In fact, 80% of the people who join Stella and Dot operate their business alongside other jobs they do outside the home. This is a trend that we are going to continue to see as corporate jobs become less stable, and as more and more people turn to “sidepreneurship” to create more income.
In her book, Find Your Extraordinary, she gives us her 6 P’s for entrepreneurship.
Let’s get started.
1. What is your PASSION?
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. — Maya Angelou
You’ve probably heard this advice many times before. If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to be personally invested in your work. It needs to be about more than money.
Jessica learned this lesson the hard way. She dropped out of Stanford to start her first business – on online wedding registry back in the first Internet boom. The business grew like crazy, she found herself featured on the Oprah show, and the business eventually sold for millions of dollars. Sounds like success to me, right?
Except that Jessica wasn’t personally invested in the mission of the business, so she only had the illusion of success. She wasn’t fulfilled.
Fast forward a few years and she found herself in a hotel elevator with a group of elite Mary Kay saleswomen. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and Jessica left that elevator knowing that she wanted to create a business where everybody had that type of passion.
She harnessed that passion and has been working ever since at democratizing entrepreneurship for women around the world.
Passion doesn’t have an ETA, but you’ll know it when it hits you. You’ll know that you’ve found what you should be doing for the rest of your life.
2. How do you create a PATH?
Once you’ve found your passion, you need to create a path towards making it happen. It’s never a straight one, and it’s never easy. It’s going to be filled with setbacks, failures and self-doubt.
But don’t let that stop you. As Jessica points out, “you don’t have to be perfect to start, you have to start to perfect.”
You don’t need to wait until the circumstances are just right. Do you already have a full-time job and a family to take care of? Work on your dream after the kids go to bed at night. Don’t have any money to start a business? Find another side-hustle like waiting tables or serving coffee until you do.
Danielle Redner, the VP of Training for Stella and Dot, would tell you that you need to ask yourself 3 questions to determine whether or not you really want to find your extraordinary life:
[emaillocker]1. Do you know why you want to do this?
2. Do you accept that this won’t be easy?
3. Are you ready to work?
If you can answer these three questions, you are ready to start carving your path. If you have a willingness to learn, a positive outlook, a bias toward action and the ability to make midcourse corrections, there’s almost nothing that can stop you from achieving your dreams.
One last point – creating the life of your dreams is a marathon and not a sprint. Make sure that you can maintain your momentum over the long run by being smart about taking care of yourself along the way.
3. Do you have a POSITIVE mind-set?
One thing is for sure – you need to have a positive mindset if you are going to stay on your path.
As Winston Churchill famously once said:
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
As human beings we have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, 80 percent of which are negative. So you can be sure that the little voice in your head is going to be giving you plenty of reasons why you won’t succeed.
As Jessica points out, it really helps to keep in mind that “your thoughts are not you, and they are not all true.” This will become especially important when you hit the roadblocks that inevitably come up on your journey.
One technique you can use to calm your mind down is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can take many forms, but you don’t need to mediate like a Buddhist monk to reap the benefits. For instance, Jessica takes a mini mental vacation three times a day where she simply unplugs, and focuses on being in the moment.
She finds it helpful to attach this to events already happening throughout the day – her morning coffee, lunch, her drive home from work or right before she goes to sleep.
Here are some things that will start happening when you start doing this on a regular basis. You’ll start feeling and expressing:
– Curiosity instead of anger
– Appreciation instead of frustration
– Trust instead of distrust
– Willingness instead of resistance
– Hope instead of doom
When you remember that your journey is going to be incredibly difficult, this positive outlook can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s time you started taking positive thinking seriously.
4. Who are the PEOPLE who matter most to you?
No matter what your hopes and dreams are, you will never get there alone. There’s an African proverb that says:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The people you surround yourself with can either help or hinder you on your journey. Choose the people you associate with carefully. For instance, make sure you get rid of anybody in your life who is dragging you down and contributing to a negative mindset – these types of people are toxic and it’s easy to get sucked into their vortex of negativity. Don’t let them.
Instead, surround yourself with people who will help you grow. For Jessica, one of those people was her father. He pushed her to be the best she could be – he was not easily impressed, but always supportive. He taught Jessica that if she wanted anything in life, all she needed to do was crack a book and learn a new skill that would get her closer to her goals. These are the types of people you should be surrounding yourself with.
On top of these, make sure you surround yourself with A players in your business.
Speaking of your business, how you develop yourself as a leader will have a great deal to do with how successful you are. As Jessica says, “become the leader you want to follow.” Jessica gives us her “five traits of an extraordinary leader”:
1. Be benevolent. Have an authentic interest in helping people be their best.
2. Have more than work ethic – show a true love for your work.
3. Be audaciously goal oriented.
4. Be positive, be confident, and diminish drama.
5. Be authentic and self-aware.
6. Care more about making it right.
Do these things and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a leader that everybody wants to follow.
5. Are you willing to develop the PERSEVERANCE to outlast your problems?
Building the life of your dreams is a long hard road, and you’ll only make it happen if you have extraordinary stamina. Getting to where you want to go will require sacrifice.
One of the first things you need to do is to decide what’s on your “do not quit” list. For some people it might mean spending time with their family on a regular basis. For other people it might mean a sport they are incredibly passionate about. Once you’ve got your list, everything else in your life becomes expendable.
This is exactly what Jessica did in the early days of the business, when it was still called Luxe Jewels. Even though the success of the business wasn’t clear to most of the people around her, she had eliminated giving up as an option. She had to quit other less important things. For instance, she gave up guitar lessons that had seemed like a good idea at the time, but wasn’t something she absolutely needed in her life.
When you do this, your ability to persevere in building the life of your dreams becomes an unstoppable force. Here’s an analogy to bring this point home.
Danielle Redner, the VP of Training for Stella and Dot we met a few minutes ago, decided that she was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest freestanding mountain.
When she began that trip, she was given an emergency card to fill out where she had to check off the conditions under which she would want to be airlifted off the mountain. Panic, nausea and other things were options. But the only box that Danielle checked was “cardiac arrest.”
She panicked, got nauseous, and dragged herself to the top of that mountain.
When the option to quit is eliminated, persistence is the default, and success is almost always inevitable.
6. To be more PRODUCTIVE, are you ready to say no to things that don’t align with your values and your goals?
Let’s not kid ourselves – if you want to achieve your dreams, you are going to have to get really good at getting a lot of stuff done. The right stuff.
One of the things that you must master is managing your time. While most people spend their time trying to squeeze more time out of their day, this is really about getting great at deciding what absolutely needs to get done and what can wait (or not get done at all).
This is hard, because “being busy” is a great excuse for a lot of things in your life. It’s a lot easier to tell yourself that you don’t have enough time to workout than is to admit that you choose to spend an hour a day mindlessly browsing your Facebook account. It’s also easier to tell others that you didn’t respond to their email or call because “things are crazy right now.”
The point is that we all have 24 hours in a day, and we choose how we spend our time. So, mastering your time is really more about managing yourself, not your schedule.
The flip side of this is that you need to value your time in order to have it yield value. Throughout the day you’ll be making choices – should I be spending my time doing what I’m doing right now? As a business owner, you need to focus your time on the highest value activities possible for that given moment. Sometimes it will be working with your team, sometimes it will be following up with prospects, and it will almost never be watching reruns of your favourite show on Netflix.
Here are 5 things you can do to start mastering your time.
1. Block your time. You will be amazed at how many 10-15 minute windows you have for important tasks like personal development and a quick exercise session.
2. Schedule unscheduled time. This will give yourself the space to think about long-term strategic issues that have a hard time finding their way on your calendar.
3. Assess your time: track it and review it. Understanding where you are actually spending your time is critical.
4. Get real with your schedule. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to “do it all” – nobody can.
5. Don’t let other people hijack your time and priorities. People don’t have bad intentions, but they will use your time however you let them use it. Make sure you are in control of your schedule, not the other way around.
Jessica ends off the book with a call-to-action that I’m hoping you can’t ignore. “Are you ready to leave ordinary behind? To say good-bye to the part of you that sees limits instead of possibilities? To the side of you that says no before yes? To the thought that extraordinary is only for someone else?”