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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Invite Your Friends, Let’s Have a Party!

This used to be all the rage. You as the amazing hostess received all kinds of freebies and perks for hosting a party in your home. The first party I attended of this nature was a Pampered Chef party back in the mid 90’s. I loved it! What was better than food, friends and learning how to use some amazing kitchen gadgets to make meals?

This was so fun as a matter of fact, I hosted my own party then used my credit to start my own Pampered Chef business. The products of course are fantastic if a little on the pricey side. However, I still have my original stoneware and gadgets I received in my kit today. I’d say that was a pretty good return on my investment of which I paid very little due to the hostess credit.

There are many businesses out there that still use this format. I joined Tupperware not soon after Pampered Chef and sold both at the same party. I carried everything I needed in Tupperware containers and used to joke at the party that I could conveniently offer everything from storing the food to cooking it as a one stop shop. It worked well for me the few parties I ended up having. A few years after my stint in Pampered Chef, I found Cookie Lee jewelry online and decided to give that a try as well as something different. I found that was an easier business to do but I had to carry inventory which wasn’t fun at the end of the year to account for. These are just a few examples as there are many great companies that are involved in the party plan type industry.

However, I realized well before the economy went south, that either I wasn’t very good at these as a business or that people in general were far too busy to get together for a party. I went through the hostess coaching training and tried to make the invitations and getting a party going as easy as possible. I even cleaned and offered my own home for the parties to try to make more business. Finally, I ended up doing my own online catalog parties and picking a name from the orders I received as the Mystery hostess to receive all the benefits of the show so I could stay active.

I realized after a year or so that I was ending up spending more than I was making to simply stay active. I’m not saying people are not successful at these businesses. Many people still are very successful. I’m just saying with the economy now and people being ‘too busy’ (really simply not making time) it’s far harder nowadays to make this a lucrative income producing career. It was fairly frustrating for me personally to feel that I was failing when in reality, I was doing everything the training taught me and that I could to product extra income.

I’m not going to sit here and knock any of these businesses down. There is absolutely no reason for that. All of these companies offer top quality, fantastic products that offer great value for what you pay for. They all have sound business models and offer good compensation plans to their consultants or representatives which in essence are independent contractors.

So let’s break down what these businesses do well then add in some hypothetical variables to fine tune. These businesses attract people that want flexible hours around their busy schedules. They offer a one-time information session or demonstration of the products to several people at once. This activity generates sales or income for the representative and benefits for the hostess. From this one-time session there should be other parties booked which represent more sales and there should also be repeat sales in the future from a one-time exposure to the products. The hostesses gain lucrative free items and products that they love from opening up their homes.

Some of the drawbacks I had were having to chase down people to get them their deliveries and of course making sure orders were entered correctly and the money all accounted for. Then of course if anything ended up being wrong or shipped incorrectly, I would have to resolve it for the customer. This is part of offering great customer service to your clients and is a must if you want to be good at what you do.  I know that Pampered Chef has done quite a bit in this department and they make it really easy to take care of returns or customer issues. I’m sure many other companies have put similar practices in place to make the consultant’s life easier.

In addition, many of these party plan businesses offer online websites that people can go order from. This makes the chasing people down aspect a lot simpler. Although there were many constraints as to how you could advertise your website, it did simplify the process.

What if you, as an independent contractor, could offer your customers online information sessions where they could sit back with their favorite drink in their comfy clothes and converse with you while they watch the info on their computer screen?

What if you could have access to products that people use every day in their homes guaranteeing an over 90% reorder rate, every single month? What would your income look like if 90% of the customers you have had contact with ordered from you every single month?

What if you had ongoing training and support offered via web conference and weekly phone calls? What if you had a mentor on speed dial that would work with you as you grow and help you make the income you need to take care of your family?

If any of these what if’s existed in the businesses I tried, I’d of never left the party plan industry. I love and still love every single one of these companies today. I know people who were successful Mary Kay representatives and others who have been in many other direct sales and mlm type business plans. Every one I’ve talked to had the same challenge of having to spend more than they were making to stay active. I think that is a combination of the economy, many people out of work, increasing costs of gas and other items we have to have causing what once was a lucrative second income or career for many people to not be as profitable as it once was.

What are your experiences with any type of party plan business? What product(s) do/did you love? What was your favorite experience? Are you still a consultant or representative?



Kathie Hitt

Would you be interested in finding out more about what we’ve found that has all the What if’s and more above? If so, please contact me today. We specialize in helping people that did not make the type of income they wanted to in other companies succeed, making more in a few short months with the same amount or less effort. We would like to Pay It Forward and share something that has given our family many blessings. We wish we’d found it well before our experiences above, however those experiences did prepare us to be ready to receive this information and have a good comparison to see how it was different. We look forward to speaking with you!