Once again, I find myself at a crossroads.
The direct selling company I’ve worked with for the past few years has closed their doors for good.
This is not the first time I’ve experienced this. Some of you may recall when The Body Shop at Home decided to cease operations in America about 3 years ago. I was with them for about 5 years.
I was able to quickly bounce back, set up shop with a new organization and keep things rolling because I had set up my online marketing to change over, essentially at the flip of a switch, as soon as I established where my next company would be.
And I’m set to do that again, but I don’t think I want to.
For lots of reasons I won’t go into here (but you can read about some of them on my other blog), being a consultant and leader in a direct sales company has been slowing down the growth of my coaching practice.
There was a time when I thought I’d never give up direct sales – especially since I had created a nice, mostly passive revenue stream for myself with my soon-to-be-former company. And I could do it again in a matter of minutes.
But I feel like God is telling me it’s time to retire. Close this chapter of my business, and focus on expanding my coaching/training, and time with my family.
Essentially begin a new chapter.
So rather than blather on about what I’m going to do (I’m taking time to really pray about this new development), I want to share with you my retirement game plan. That way, when you’re ready to hang up your cleats as a leader (or your company decides to close their doors), you’ll have a roadmap to help you as well.
- Refer my consultants to effective leaders, my leaders to effective companies. I don’t hold my downline captive as I make the decision to move to a new company (or not). I am fortunate to have a laundry list of amazing clients that I would happily refer my team to, if they decided to go to another company. My leaders and team members have mouths to feed, just like I do, and it may cut into my own paycheck to do things this way, but leaving people hanging is doing them a disservice. It’s already a pain in the butt for everyone that the company is closing, and you can bet that if you don’t move quickly to keep your team together, they’ll be looking elsewhere anyway. Instead of worrying about “my income”, I created a list of my best clients in terms of leadership, personalities, and quality of training they provide their organiztion. I forwarded that “recommended” list to everyone in my organization and told them to go interview those folks if their product line sounded interesting. In my opinion, they wouldn’t find better leaders in the industry than folks I’ve already trained and know well. While you may not have that kind of list, if you’re building a solid business, you have met plenty of leaders in other companies that you could refer your team to when your retirement is imminent. If not, get started now.
- Notify my customers (if the home office doesn’t do it). Let clients know that change is coming. Refer them to other trusted consultants on your team if your company is staying open. If your company is closing, connect with someone selling a comparable product so that your clients don’t have to panic about finding a new source. Yes, this takes a bit of effort that won’t likely return much revenue for you, but it shows genuine concern for your clients. Give your clients the option to choose how they want to do business – and with whom.
- Save your pennies. If you’re retiring, keep an eye on your expenses for at least the 6-9 months prior to your retirement. If your company closes, review your last 6-9 months of expenses, and make saving money a priority. Even if you can switch your whole team over to a new company, it may still be at least a month before you’ll see a residual check (sometimes 3-4 months), so you’ll want to be prepared for the cut in income. Going forward, strive to save at least 3-6 months of living expenses to tide you over through future lean months. Now’s not the time to be investing in huge starter kits if you can avoid it. Liquidate as much of your current product as possible so that your shelves are empty and ready for whatever’s coming next.
- Keep your online marketing presence active. Regardless of what you’re planning to do, maintaining your online presence lets people know what you’re up to. That way, if you ever decide to re-enter the direct sales arena – or any other business arena – you’re not starting from scratch.