A Tale of 2 WAHMs

Ramblings of 2 WAHMs - Anita DeFrank and Kara Kelso. Partners in business discuss how we manage successful websites and young children at home.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Avoid Losing Sales This Summer

It's a fact. Summer is a slow time for online sales, so the only thing to do is go where your traffic is - offline!

Offline events can be a very profitable way to increase your sales, but only if done correctly. While many think all they have to do is "show up" to an event, which is true to a point, there is actually a little more involved. The hard part of marketing has been done for you and there will be people at the event, but you still need to set up your table correctly and follow certain steps to make the most of the event you are attending.

We have taken the guess work out of making your event a success and have put together a package for you that has all the tips and forms you need to get ready for the offline events in your area. Learn how to increase your sales from events and stay organized too!

The Offline Event Kit includes:

- Introduction and Tips
- How to Find Events
- Event Check List
- How to set up a drawing box
- 20 Drawing Slips
- 6 Additional forms to use before and after your event

All the information is organized and mailed directly to your door in a labled pocket folder. In addition to your kit, you will receive a link to download additional copies of all 7 forms.

For more details, visit:

Featuring Soy Candles

So far my "test" marketing idea of only having certain candles available for a short amount of time has been successful. This week we released our first set of candles in three scents, which are only available for a short time. It resulted in one sale after just one day, so I see that as a good thing. I do believe the idea really needs to catch on, and when those on my newsletter begin to see different items each week it will create more of an immediate need. I imagin it would also be better if I had a better quality mailing list, but that I'll be working on later. For now I'm focusing a bit more offline, since summer is approaching.

Since it's almost summer, we are planning on attending several local events. Of course while working on this, I had more ideas for the Direct Sales Helper project.

This candle project is far from over, and it's going to take a lot of effort on my end to build up a good customer base. I do feel like I'm starting from scratch, but at least I have somewhere to start and some contacts lined up already before this began. Not many, but still it's a start. ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's Done!! It's Done!!

Boy, oh boy, I don't know if I've ever taken so long to build a website! Well besides MommysHelperOnline.com (it's still being built, lol!) I finally got my Greeting Cake website done. I think what took the longest is all the grapics. First of all, for those of you who don't already know this...I despise graphics!! And with this company, there's a whole lot of them. Anyway...ready to see?

Oh, and you'll also see that Patty Gale was our winner. She chose the winning business name for it.


Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Very interesting article

I read a very interesting article today in a publication directly releated to affiliate marketing. While this appears to have nothing to do with direct sales, it really does.

The article can be found here:

In the article it gives an example of the average website owner and an average visitor. The visitor clicks the paid link (paid by the website owner) but doesn't buy right away. Instead he waits until the next day and goes directly though the company, so the average website owner didn't get the commission for his referal.

While this example was for affiliate marketing and how we loose sales every day, it's the same with direct sales. With all the competition, it's very possible the next day your referal could buy from another rep. But a very important item is missed here - the website owner in the example above didn't get the visitor to sign up to his newsletter! This is a very good example WHY even direct sales reps NEED a website of their own. They NEED to be building a list of potential customers that will buy from them time and time again. So many times I see reps saying "paid advertising doesn't work" - well I know this is just completely not true. The problem isn't the advertising, it's the lack of follow up! If you don't have a way to catch your visitors and contact them over and over again, you are constantly waisting your advertising dollars.

Something to think about. ;)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Better Ezines

I just read a very interesting newsletter and I felt the need to share it. I couldn't agree more with this newsletter! Have you found yourself un-subscribing to ezines or newsletters because you're tired of all the hype and sales? I know I have. Now, don't get me wrong...I completely believe in the editors getting paid for their ezines/newsletters (as I am one of those myself). This usually comes through affiliate links or paid advertising. But, I'm not going to waste my time one something thats nothing more than a great big sales letter, are you? There HAS to be a happy medium to keep your subscribers happy. I won't say anything else myself right now because I belive Phil Wiley of www.Ozemedia.com said it pretty well himself ;-)

The following is quoted from Phil's newsletter today...

And as famous UK marketer Peter Twist said to me
a couple of weeks ago when I went to one of his
regular Birmingham mentoring seminars:

"I love reading your emails and open them as soon
as one comes in because I know it will be interesting
and useful. Not like the sales pitches that most
marketers put out as an ezine these days."

Well he said something like that anyway.

Andy Henry and Martin Avis joined in the conversation,
and we all agreed that there are very few ezines from
well known internet marketers still worth reading,
because nearly everyone just pumps out sales
messages and special offers with no useful content.

Personally I think a balance has to be reached.

Ezines in this internet marketing / affiliate program /
search engine / work from home / small business
field have to both inform and entertain. They need to
be like mini magazines with a mix of news on the
latest sites and software, ideas for growing your
business, techniques you can follow, and also
success and inspirational stories.

But, like magazines, they also need to bring in a profit
for the writer / publisher. People doing them have to
be rewarded for their work, whether it's by running paid
advertising or using affiliate links throughout the ezine.

It's striking the right balance that's difficult.

I know, and all successful ezine publishers know, that
by writing about a single product or service and using
'sales talk' or 'hype' it's possible to make big d-o-l-l-a-r-s
from sending out one email.

But do this too often, without sending out ezines that
people enjoy reading and you'll be flooded with

Peter, Andy, Martin, and myself have all un-
subscribed from lots of ezines recently because
they've turned into nothing but sales pitches.

So if you're an ezine publisher take a good hard look
at your content and make sure that it's something
people want to read.


What do you think? Agreed??

Free Ebook - Choosing Your Business

Give Anita some major kudos here, she did an awesome job putting together this ebook - How to Choose Right Direct Sales Company for you!. This free ebook covers every question we could think of when looking for the right direct sales company for you. There's even a handy check list at the end that you can print out and use while doing your research. ;)

Thanks Anita!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Direct Sales Reps CAN Write Articles - Here's How!

This is a completely new idea that we haven't seen being done anywhere, and actually came from an article Kara wrote.

We all know that article writing is a great way to promote our businesses AND helps establish us as an expert in our fields. But, just because we know how important it is to our business doesn’t necessarily make us able to do it. It’s often said, “I’m not a writer, I can’t write
articles.” Or “I can’t write an article about my own products without it sounding like an ad.” Do either of these sound familiar?

Here’s a twist on article writing that can both help and provide a little extra fun. Find another consultant from another non-competing direct sales company. Exchange products with each other and both of you try them each out. Once you have tried the product yourself, write an article about it. In return the other consultant does the same thing. It’s much more natural for us to be able to write about and recommend someone else’s products. It’s a win-win situation!

The following is perfect example of an article that Kara had written when she received a gift from Independent Distributor for The Greeting Cake Company, Kerri Knack:

Rainy Day Cakes

As we enter the beginning of spring, I'm reminded of the saying "April showers bring May Flowers". What that old saying doesn't mention is how easy children can get bored while watching the rain, just wishing they could go outside.

A gift from a friend turned out to be a great way to keep the kids busy even if just for an hour or so. Just a few days ago I received a cake from Greeting Cake Company ( http://www.gottaknack4cakes.com ), and I was surprised at how fun these were!

The kit included ingredients (all we did was add water), the mixing bowl, measuring tools, sprinkles, and even a candle so we could have a "pretend" party. My children, ages 2 and 4, were able to do just about everything on their own - including baking the cake! There was no "waiting
for the cake to bake", because all we had to do was put it in the microwave for under 2 minutes. While it was hot and took a minute to cool, we were able to put the frosting and sprinkles on almost right away, so no one got bored waiting for it to cook and cool.

Of course the cake was completely gone within a few minutes of it being finished, but I was so impressed with how easy this was for the kids to do nearly on their own!

The best part of this unique product is the cakes themselves are all around $5-$6. It was a terrific project for the two little ones, plus they got dessert too!

Of course you would ad your signature line, as they would as well. So really you are getting twice the advertising as you would just writing your own article! Not to mention you have a "testimony" that's not an ad and being used as content on other sites.

Pull up your address book and start figuring who you can exchange products with. Try to find others that have similar but not competitive products. Such as if you sell home decor with no candles, find someone that has candles.

(See DirectSalesHelpers.com for more Direct Sales Tips!)

Time Management, Spring Crafts, and more!

In this week's issue of Mommy's Helper - Mom's Market Ezine:
( Can be read at: http://www.momsezine.com/issue-75.html )

~ Notes from Anita and Kara

~ Business Article - 6 Time Management Tips for Moms
Many of you have expressed the challenge of not having enough time to accomplish all your needed tasks and not being organized. Having good organization and management skills is absolutely imperative to your business. Being well organized can greatly affect your successfulness. Applying a few of the following tips will help you become more organized and make better use of your time.

~ Latest Message Board Topics

~ Childcare Article - Spring Picture Craft
As the weather gets warmer, the kids will be anxious to go outside. Here's a craft idea that's fun and easy, and suitable for all ages (even little ones!). Plus to start involves taking a walk together on a nice spring day.

~ Humor Article - House Full of Sorry Heads
It never fails to amaze me. As parents we want to share things with our kids, we want to reward them and create those memories that will one day be the ‘good old days’ and yet they have to go and pull some bone-headed thing and make you be the parent and not their friend.

~ Recipe - Fruit Spice Smoothie

Read this week's issue at: http://www.momsezine.com/issue-75.html


Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting Creative with Promotion

Just creating the Direct Sales Kit was only half the battle so I figured we should keep you updated beyond just the creation. (Sorry, I know I’ve been lacking with updates!) Hopefully this will help anyone else starting a new project or any other campaign. (Warning this is very long! But, I hope that there is enough valuable information here that’ll be worth your time.)

We’ve been trying to get as creative as possible. Besides, everyone knows (or should know) that creativity is your best friend! The idea is to make your product stand out among anything else available that might be even remotely similar to your own. You need to let everyone know WHY they need/want your product.

Here’s a few things that we’ve done throughout the process and are starting now and the reasons why... (Yes, there is a method to our madness!)

Some things you might have picked up through the creation process but are worth repeating... Of course you’ll want to get creative yourself even if you use the same techniques that we’ve used because unless you’re planning on writing a book on direct sales your plans are going to have to be different, lol!

1) We created a survey specifically for woman in direct sales.
This helped quite a few different ways. Of course being in direct sales ourselves we know what we had difficulties in and had to work through but, just because we had a problem with something doesn’t mean someone else has and vise versa. So, this definitely helped in the creation. We were able to actually find out what was on the minds of others in direct sales and what help they were looking for. This was a great way to gather the information that was needed all in one spot. This also of course started a bit of a buzz about the project we were working on.

2) We created a newsletter to be distributed each week specifically targeting direct sales (Direct Sales Helpers News & Tips). Again, this helped many ways. We already know that a large part of the work at home community is in direct sales but not all. Our regular ezine - Mommy’s Helper - Mom’s Market Ezine - targets moms in business/work at home moms but we try to keep the content general without focusing too much on one “branch of the tree”. We started another newsletter so we could use that one to focus on one particular niche. Again, this helped create some buzz also. Plus, now we have a group of people who are in direct sales and are interested in more help for their business. We also are able to use this group as “proof” that we do know what we are talking about and are qualified to offer quality advice. Another thing we can do with this is build an actual relationship with our subscribers. Which would you rather take advice from? Someone who you don’t know and have no idea what they teach or someone you’re comfortable with and hear from each week? I don’t think that’s too hard of a decision.

3) As most of you know ... we had a great team of experts helping us through the creation of the kit. (You can meet the team here.) We decided on this because we wanted a wide-range of advice. We wanted to not only share our experience and advice but also what has worked for some other successful direct sales representatives. In my opinion this really adds value to the entire kit. We’re not just offering the expertise of just two but the experience of ten of us.

We knew we wanted an affiliate program available for this but, we also didn’t want everybody and their sister recommending it. Not that this is a bad thing but, we first wanted the recommendations to be from those who knew what they were talking about. Those who have actually read it. Part of the compensation we offered to our team was one a free copy and two the option to become an affiliate and earn commission from the kit itself. We also hand-picked a few of our own to offer the affiliate program too. This limits the number of affiliates. Again, this way we know those who are recommending our product know exactly what they’re recommending AND it makes it more fair to the affiliates. This makes it easier for them to make a commission on a more personal level. This also helps us in promoting the kit.

4) I myself had written a press release for the kit. I may be able to write but sales copy and press releases are definitely not my strong points. Kara worked on the sales copy and promotion of mostly everything involved here while I worked more on the content of the kit. First of all you need to find your strengths. Know what you’re good at and focus on that. Don’t be afraid to hire someone else who has more experience in a certain field. If you can’t afford to hire someone maybe you can find someone to barter with. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you can’t do something in particular. As I mentioned writing Press Releases is not my thing so, I showed it to a very good friend of mine Dee from VirtualWordPublishing.com and she helped create a much better press release. Not only that we’ve already discussed with her about writing our sales copy for the same project but to a different audience that we’re planning on working on. If you can’t do something ... find someone who can. You’ll save yourself all the time and energy plus if you’ll probably end up with something better than you might have been able to create.

5) Writing articles. Yes, I’m going to say it again...and most definitely again and again and again. You’ll never experience the true benefit of article writing until you actually give it a try. Article writing is one of THE BEST means of branding yourself as an expert in your field. We’ve written many, many articles on different issues of direct sales. Having a website such as MomsEzine.com we decided to put it to good use. We turned it into an ezine directory. Listings were free only requiring a link back to MomsEzine. This of course helps those who list some added exposure and we get the exposure of MomsEzine which also lists our ezines. Everybody wins! With this we were also able to create a list of ezines/newsletters that accepts articles. (Accepting Publishers List) What does this do? This for one helps us have a great list of places to submit our articles to and once again, a little more exposure for MomsEzine.com and in turn again for our newsletters also.

(Side Note: When advertising don’t always focus on the sale! Focus on building a relationship. This is advertising that will keep on giving and giving for a very long time. Next time you place an ad...place an ad for your free newsletter. No you may not make a sale right now, but you’ll be building a great list of potential customers who are starting to get to know you!)

6) We started weekly chats for direct sales reps. Yes, we’re giving away free information but, we are also creating a relationship with others who might not already know who we are or what we stand for. This is just an example to others of what we do have to offer in the means of coaching. Imagine it as a free sample. Consultants and reps can stop by our chats ask some questions, get some answers and get to know us before they take the leap to buy the kit or join the membership group.

7) Speaking of the membership site...At first we focused more on selling the kit and now we’re thinking better of that. (See, we ALL make mistakes!) The question has risen as to wether our kit is for someone who is new to direct sales or those who have been involved for a while. To that question we can’t really give a complete answer. Yes, this is definitely for the newbies...there’s no question at all there. But, is it for those who have been in direct sales for a while? My answer is yes, but I can’t tell you if the content is something you already know or not. That’s when you have to take a good look at the table of contents and see what’s involved. Another thing we did for this was to make a couple of sample pages taken directly from the book itself. (Sample Page One - Sample Page Two) This gives those interested a better look at what’s inside. So, we thought that we should make the membership site more available for those who feel as they pretty much know the content but are still looking for a little one on one coaching to become more successful.

8) Free & Low Cost Advertising List
Of course we are and have been on the lookout for available advertising for our kit as well as many others. We’ve all seen the message board posts...”Where can I advertise for free or low cost?” I know you’ve seen at least one of those posts, right? Well instead of having a post a mile long as everyone comes and posts the advertising they have available we decided to create our own list. We made it free and downloadable. By doing this we’re creating a viral effect as others will start recommending the list. Those who are listed of course and those that it’s helped. Not to mention it’s a great little referral for almost anyone. Guess what you’ll see on this list? Courtesy of DirectSalesHelpers.com. So, we created a helpful resource AND were able to help get the name of DSH out there! Again, it’s a win-win situation!

9) Creating another book
Yes, sometimes I think I’m crazy but I have mentioned that I really enjoyed creating the book part of the DS kit and plan on writing more. The one I’m working on right now (some details are being negotiated and are up in the air but) the main idea of the book is going to be this. First of all it’s going to be a free ebook. We’ll offer it to anyone who wants it absolutely free of charge. We’re going to have many other wahm resource sites offering it for free to their visitors, subscribers and so forth. Again, creating a viral effect where everyone wins. Other sites are going to have something of value to offer their visitors/subscribers/etc., we are going to get the added exposure of listing our website in it and of course the readers are going to get valuable information. What is this book going to include? This one is going to be on choosing a direct sales company. I won’t go too far into detail with this...it’s almost finished and you’ll be able to see yourself. Not to mention this is by far going to reach or target group! People who read it are going to be just starting out in direct sales or are looking to start a new company. Once they’ve read the free ebook and have chosen a company they are going to now know where to go to receive additional help if they feel the need.

10) Our blog...Yes, the blog you’re reading right now was also used as a promotional tool. We’ve created quite a buzz about our project with the readers of our blog. We’ve hit two birds with one stone. One we’ve created an interest in what we were doing and two we’ve hopefully helped some out that are looking to create their own product.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the things you’ve read including this tip has definitely been used as promotion...but that isn’t our only motive. We are wahms and we have been in these shoes for a very long time. Not only are these methods for promotion but also to help others. As you can see if you read over the above tips again, we don’t do a lot of these things just for the promotion aspect but also to help others. Let’s recap...

Us: This helped us know exactly what’s on the minds of others in direct sales and help answer questions.
You: We created a product with answers to challenges of direct sales reps.

Us: Helped establish us as experts in our field and build a relationship with our members.
You: Answered many direct questions and challenges of those who asked for help.

Team of Experts
Us: Helped us create a complete kit.
You: Gives more content/ideas/advice to the readers.
BONUS: Helped our experts establish themselves more and credit them for their accomplishments.

Article Writing
Us: Helped us get our name out there and helped establish ourselves as knowledgeable in our field.
You: Offers free advice to our readers.

Weekly Chats
Us: Again, helps to prove that we can offer sound advice and coach other direct sales in their business.
You: Free samples of what we do.

Free & Low Cost Advertising List
Us: Free advertising/promotion.
You: A free list you can use.

Free Ebook
Us: Free advertising/promotion.
You: (Or others) Free advice on how to choose the right direct sales company for that individual.

Our Blog
Us: Created interest and a great deal of buzz.
You: Created some free advice and information you can use.

Okay, I see this has gotten way longer than I had originally expected but, I hope that it helps others and it also gives you a real feel of what goes on in our little heads and the WHY we do what we do.

To your success!
Anita :)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Ignoring the Little Things....


Looks like our blog was in serious need of an update. While looking for a very old post, I realized how much we use to just ramble here. Lately about all we've had time for is quickly posting the week's ezine issues. Not good .....well depending on how you look at it. My mind has been so focused on the Direct Sales project, almost everything else has been pushed aside. I suppose that's good, because it means I'm dedicated to it 100%. It's not just "something I'm trying out". It's my focus. I want this to do well, and I want to make an impact on the wahm world - a positive one at that. Of course I want to be a success, but more importantly I want to see other become a success because of us.

The downside of being busy and highly motivated though, is I start getting more ideas and am motivated to do more. I'm already busy and motivated, I don't need anything extra! When I get on trips like this, I tend to burn out fast. So I think the biggest challenge for me right now is just writing ideas down and making sure I don't "over do it" so to speak. That way I won't burn out and loose my motivation again. That's never fun :(

Enough rambling and working, I think I'll go outside for a walk now. ;)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

3 Steps to Finding New Customers

Step one: Knowing your Customer

To find your ideal customer, you first have to know them. Other than
the fact your future customer wants your products, what else do you know
about them? Ask yourself some of the following questions:

1. What hobbies do your customers have?
2. Do they have children?
3. Do they prefer buying online or offline?
4. What are their fears/concerns?
5. What makes them happy?

Step two: Finding Your Ideal Customer

The next step is a piece of cake! Once you discover what your ideal
customer's interests hobbies, and lifestyle is, finding them is the easy
part. There are TONS of message boards, groups, newsletters, and
websites dedicated to specific groups of people. You can do some research to
find these places on Yahoo Groups, Ezine Directories, or just by

Step three: Discover Your Own Interests

Take a minute to realise your own hobbies and interests. Do you like to
read and sell coffee or candles? Join a message board that talks about
books and get to know others there. Make sure to put your business in
your signature line! Use a creative ad such as "Relax with a cup of
(your company's name) coffee and a good book", or "Relax with a (company
name) scented candle and a good book". Try and get as creative as
possible so your signature line really stands out and makes other want to

Also be sure to ask yourself why you joined this particular business to
begin with (aside from the money!). Sometimes this will give you ideas
of where your customers could be. For example, if you joined a bath and
body company because of your concern for the use of store brand soaps
on your children, you may consider seeking out a group or message board
of other mothers that share your same concern. Again, be sure to use
signature lines targeted to those who your products are targeted to!

Of course this is just the beginning. While you may choose to pay for
simple advertising on some websites and newsletters (and this is fine!),
if you are involved in the community be respectful to the current
members. Don't just place ads and leave, but instead get to know those in
the community. Follow the rules as you should within any community -
don't post with the assumption everyone will automatically buy from you.
Build relationships, be helpful, and the sales will follow!

(See DirectSalesHelpers.com for more Direct Sales Tips!)

Make Mistakes - But Learn from Them!

In this week's issue of Mommy's Helper - Mom's Market Ezine:
( Can be read at: http://www.momsezine.com/issue-74.html )

~ Notes from Anita and Kara

~ Business Article - Make Mistakes -But Learn from Them!
If you are thinking about or have already started your own business, you probably know that you will make mistakes. Don't let this dissuade you from your dreams or your passion. We have all made them and will make more - no matter how experienced or how good we are at our business. The difference between a good mistake and a bad mistake is whether or not you have learned from it.

~ Latest Message Board Topics

~ Childcare Article - Rainy Day Cakes
As we enter the beginning of spring, I'm reminded of the saying "April showers bring May Flowers". What that old saying doesn't mention is how easy children can get bored while watching the rain, just wishing they could go outside.

~ Humor Article - The Hazards of Working At Home
Moms that choose to stay home with their kids know what they are getting into, namely, a 24/7 job that offers few breaks sans vacation. That is why I think that moms who choose to run a home-based business are utterly out of their minds. I should know. I am one of those women. Think challenge to the 9nth degree.

~ Recipe - McDonald's Big Mac (Mmmmm...!)

Read this week's issue at: http://www.momsezine.com/issue-74.html