Deb Bixler is one of the kindest people I have interacted in the internet. No wonder she is loved by many.
She has such a large and loyal following. She has been consistently honored as one of the most influential professionals in direct selling industry was awarded with Direct Selling Power 50.
What amazes me is that she did not start as a direct sales professional and speaker. She started as a chef. I consider it a privilege to have meet such a great entrepreneur – kind, simple, very competent and definitely cream of the crop.
Here is the interview I had with Deb Bixler.
Jeff: You are one of the most decorated business speakers. You have been awarded as direct selling 2009 Power 50 and Women of Power Award. But for the sake of those who have not meet you, please give us a brief background about yourself, Deb.
Deb: Deb retired from the corporate world in 2000 to enjoy life as an entrepreneur. In the first 9 months as a home party direct seller she built a home business and sales team which provided her with an income capable of replacing her corporate business salary of $80,000 per year.
Deb took the skills and sales training that made her a success in the corporate world and incorporated them into her home party plan business to achieve similar results. She now teaches others how to do the same.
Deb has been honored 3 years in a row in the Direct Selling Power 50 as one of the most influential professionals in the industry worldwide and is the 2011 Direct Selling Women’s Alliance speaker of the year.
Host of the CashFlowShow – Direct Sales Radio, Deb brings affordable direct sales education around the world. www.CashFlowShowRadio.com
Jeff: From Chef to motivational speaker and now one of the most influential direct sales person, how did the journey begin?
Deb: That is a good question. I actually did not go to school for business but am a culinary trained chef. I had a terrific career in the hospitality industry and after about 30 years was getting burned out and realized that I was giving my whole life to someone else’s business. I was missing all the family events, holidays and birthdays. In 1999 I went to a home party and the consultant said “watch what I do here today and for those of you who would like have fun and make money with MyFantasticCompany just get with me after the show and I will be glad to give you more information.”
I thought that he was a real loser doing home parties!! But as the show went on, I realized that everything that I loved about the restaurant industry was going on in that room. So, to make a long story short, I took a 50% pay cut in my job. Moved from being the GM of a French restaurant and silver service caterer to being the loading dock supervisor. This allowed me to have a 40 hour workweek instead of an 80 hour week.
I decided at that time that I would give it 9 months. At the end of 9 months I would either quit party plan and go back to corporate or I would quit the job altogether permanently. I did my first home party in February of 2000 and my direct sales income was capable of replacing the corporate salary by November, which is when I left the business job world permanently.
Jeff: What it is like on your first few months? What are the struggles and doubts that you faced when you were starting?
Deb: At first I did not want to be perceived as a home party lady. I did not think it was “professional.” After a while I realized that professionalism was an attitude. When I used the same attitude and best business practices in my party business as I had in my corporate career I would get the same results.
I had taken several companies from nothing to great success for others, so why not for myself? That is when I just started to treat it like a real business. Which is why I achieved real business success!
Jeff: If there is one thing a person needs to succeed financially, what is it?
Deb: Commitment… the very definition of commitment is that you do not stop. People or businesses never fail, only systems fail. If you are not getting the results you want, get a new system, but don’t quit!
Jeff: Speaking engagement, trainings and writing for blogs, that sounds a lot of time on your part. How do you balance your business and your personal life? How are you able to manage to do all these things?
Deb: Working at home can be a balance struggle and yet I find that I am more productive when I take time off. So, I delegate things that are able to be “outsourced” you might say and I schedule time off so that I remember to take time off!!
Jeff: You have made such a following. You have captivated the heart of so many loyal followers of your blogs and training programs. How did you manage to make that strong connection to your loyal audience?
Deb: Technology makes it difficult to make that connection sometimes. I am committed to being a real person.
I make myself very available. I answer the phone without checking caller ID and I respond personally to inquiries. That really is what sets me apart from others in the industry. When you visit my sites you will find my phone number prominently displayed and when you call, chances are I will answer the phone. If not, it is only because I am already on it or teaching at the time, and do return my calls personally.
Jeff: Let us talk about direct marketing and using it as a source of added income. What is really direct marketing?
Deb: Direct sales marketing is skipping the retail store and selling straight to the customer. Direct sales is the best of both worlds when it comes to being an entrepreneur vs holding a corporate position. When you work as an outside contractor for a direct sales company you have the brand recognition and support of a major company and yet you are working for yourself.
Jeff: What does it take for an ordinary person to start and succeed in direct marketing and to earn extra income?
Deb: Direct sales is a simple business model and yet everyone cannot succeed at it. Most people think it is easy and therefore requires no effort. That could not be further from the truth.
Like any business/job you must study your trade and go to work every day. The average home business owner tries to fit it in. If you just try to fit it in without making it a priority you will not create a viable income.
Jeff: What do you consider as your biggest accomplishment in your business?
Deb: Replacing my job in 9 months with an income capable of maintaining the same quality of life as an $80,000 a year job.
And harnessing the search engines. This has taken a bit longer but having my websites show up in keyword searches with page one results for my niche keywords is a big accomplishment.
Jeff: Selling is quite an art and a mystery for some people. How does one person become an effective sales person? Do you have tips or lessons for those who want to learn how to sell?
Deb: ”Many people coming into direct sales do not want to be sales people. As a matter of fact it frequently is an objection to joining a direct sales company. Many times a direct seller sharing their opportunity hears: ‘I hate sales.’ from their potential new consultant. Good sales people are actually just good connectors. Sales comes from a Scandinavian word meaning ‘to serve’. A direct seller who keeps the focus on serving the needs of the market and/or of their customers will always do well. Whether working online or offline, sales is creating connections. When you connect on a personal (emotional) level you will become a good sales person. Consultants who stop selling and start making friends, focus on others and create connections are the most successful in the industry.”
Jeff: What is your biggest business goal at the moment?
Deb: I am currently focused on expanding my worldwide reach. The CashFlowShow – Direct Sales Radio is available worldwide 7 days a week and is the vehicle that I am using to reach out to direct sellers internationally.
Jeff: I know you are very busy and very productive. What is a typical day for you? What is a typical week?
Deb: I usually have 2-3 speaking events per week and 2-3 office days per week. So, an office day may look like this:
- Sleep as late as I want.
- Walk the dog and have a slow breakfast.
- Check email and social networking sites.
- Write articles, post blog updates, update websites, deal with web support issues.
- Eat and take a long walk every afternoon
- Conduct webinar or teleseminars in the evening
Technology based activities are never done…..
Jeff: If you have to start all over again, what will you change and what will you continue to do?
Deb: Like my father always said: “If I had it to do over, most likely I would make the same mistakes again!”
Jeff: What do you think is the major reason why people fail in business?
Deb: They stop….
Jeff: Are you a one woman show, outsourcing or did you hire employees?
Deb: I do not have any employees but I do outsource to a variety of different providers so that the important things I can keep my fingers on.
Jeff: Do you have any recommended reading list?
- Think And Grow Rich
- The Purple Cow
- How To Win Friends and Influence Enemies
- The Answer
Jeff: Tell us more of your websites and training program.
The CashFlowShow is a site that provides over 500 pages of free training for direct sales and home party plan consultants. There are several programs there that focus on the important aspects of a direct sales business.
- The Cash Flow Show Program: This is home party-specific and all about maximizing results at the home party. A home party consultant who wants to increase their effectiveness at the home party would learn how to increase sales, bookings and recruiting at the home party itself.
- Power Up For Professional Results: This is the program that teaches professionalism and lead generation. A perfect training program for someone who needs more business or who wants to quit working their real world job.
- Direct Sales Recruiting University: This is college for direct sellers. Specifically focusing on recruiting and growing a sale team, the University covers everything from finding business to new consultant training.
That means WOW! You are really lucky! You are healthy! My local business is more about healthy eating and cooking. This site teaches people how to maintain and ideal weight without dieting.
- 6 Weeks To The New You: This is an online weight loss program which is really not a diet but a way of life. Small changes made daily that add up to big results.