Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Business Story

When I was introduced to the Reliv nutrition program in February of 2009, my personal financial situation was circling the drain. I'd been involved in an earlier entrepreneurial fiasco that had left my savings depleted, and the HR consulting business I had started in 2006 was not doing well. I was at the point of having to look for employment (a very unpalatable prospect to me as I had been self employed for most of the last 25 years and didn't relish the thought of having to explain myself to a boss again), start selling off personal assets (flying is one of my longtime passions and the thought of having to sell my 1977 Cessna 172XP for living expenses made taking a job seem almost delightful) or take money from my various retirement accounts (which would produce very negative tax penalties next year and leave me short of funds later). None of these were very attractive options. But the worst part of it wasn't even the money. It was the hopeless, discouraged feeling that my life was just not turning out the way I hoped it would at this age, and that I really had no good options for turning it around.

I was looking at Reliv for wellness and prevention, and had absolutely no intention of becoming involved with it as a business. But by April I had pretty much decided to use the products long term because of the health results I was seeing, and thought that it made sense to become a distributor simply to obtain the products at a significant discount. But by the end of May, having put no effort whatsoever into it (I'm not talking "part-time" here, I really made zero effort) I had "made" about $140 selling a few cans of product to family and close friends. I was in a position where even a couple of hundred dollars a month in extra income would make a big difference so I decided that I had better take a more serious look at the business potential of this.

In June and July I began to connect with my sponsor and plug in to the extensive training and support system that Reliv provided. There was a lot to learn, and I was seriously handicapped by a conviction that I already knew most of it. As I became more familiar with the products, the marketing plan and the compensation model I started to see that maybe, just possibly, a person could make some serious income at this. I began to devote some time to it, not a lot of hours but consistently. But I was also making a lot of mistakes, and while I was still making a little money, I wasn't progressing very fast.

Against my better judgment, I attended the Company's International Conference in St. Louis in August. I'd been to a lot of conferences over the years and frankly had very low expectations. I could hardly have been more wrong. Over three days I had the opportunity to see Reliv International up close (literally during the facility tour, and emotionally as it put its best face forward for the 4,000 or so enthusiastic distributors in attendance). But most important was the chance to meet with other distributors, to share their stories and to learn from their experiences. For me it was a completely unfamiliar experience to be among such a positive, confident, upbeat crowd. Almost uncomfortable. Perhaps it was contagious. Or perhaps it was the realization that there was nothing at all magical about the people who had been successful at this. They were sharing the exact same products as me. They had a compensation plan identical to mine. The training and support available to them were available to me. The only difference between me and people who were making a great living at this and having fun doing it was how hard and how long they had worked at it.

I am still circling the drain. My bills still outpace my income. But instead of hopeless and discouraged I am now enthusiastic and confident. Now I do see a way to the life I had wanted to have. Not a quick path, or an easy one. But a possible one. My goal is that by the end of next year, 2010, I will be making enough in the Reliv business to support myself comfortably. And then to become a little more successful and a little more prosperous each year thereafter. I don't see any reason not to be doing this for the rest of my life.

At least that's the plan. Check back now and then to see how it all really works out.

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