Jean began her second stint as a sales professional in 1992, at the age of fifty-four. She had some success her first go-around but it had been eleven years since she’d called on a client and even longer since she’d built a sales business from scratch.
Initially, she went about things the way most ambitious salespeople do—she put in a lot of hard hours to maximize the few resources her employer offered. Fifty and sixty hour weeks were common. She was met with some success but not enough. Something else was required.
Late in that first year, she spent her own money to attend a seminar that she hoped would show her what more was needed. There she learned about something I call “The Law of the Shareholder.” Like any start-up, her business would grow when she invested in it.
She had taken one step in the right direction by attending the seminar. Now, her next investment was to hire a coach—this too with her own money. It was a risk but one she was willing to take. It turned out to be a wise move.
Her coach helped her see that she was still looking at herself as an employee rather than the owner of a business. If her second career was to succeed she needed to begin acting like its CEO. The advice clicked.
The two then put together a business plan that determined what investments were necessary, initially and continually, for her second career to flourish. She took ownership and began to put these investments of time and money to practice: they included professional marketing, ongoing coaching, professional growth materials, and affiliate partnerships. Within a year both business and life began to change.
Today, a decade later, Jean is not only the owner of the company in principle, it says so on her business card. This allows her the freedom to spend only thirty hours a week in the office, and leaves her plenty of time for her growing family. In fact, her business is also a family affair. Her son is now the executive vice president and her daughter a top salesperson. So much for the adage that you can’t mix business and pleasure.
You are the owner of your business whether or not your card says so. You are responsible for your success. You must make the ongoing decisions necessary to launch and continually grow your business or no one will. See yourself as the CEO of “You, Inc.” and you will begin to see success in the proper light.
The most successful sales people by stock in themselves. That begins when you stop thinking of yourself as an employee with a job and start thinking of yourself as an owner of a business with a compelling vision to help people.