This weekend I saw a little drama unfold that told the story of how we view competition in this country.  A company made an Instagram post where they were obviously poking fun (and not in a good way) at another company in their same market.

Here’s the thing:  there are two ways to look at competition.  You can get to the top by being cooperative, complementary and an all around good person.  Or, you can be a ball busting, irresponsible, win at all cost (even if that means cheating) person who is disliked by many.

I always use the example of real estate agents I knew a while back.  These two were competing in the same territory.  They could have used ugly tactics to beat each other.  Instead, they worked together. When one went on vacation, the other  would keep an eye on the properties and if a deal was made, they held it until the vacation was over so that the rightful agent would get their commission.  They did not even belong to the same agency.  One of them was completely independent and the other one was not.  The thing is, they had each other’s back and they never stole the other’s clients.  Their clients were loyal because they saw how they behaved and they both flourished and made lots of money.

Now let me give you an example of the other kind.  I used to work for a company that made window coverings and they had one “client” who was famous for opening a shop, selling a lower grade imitation of the product and when they started getting complaints, they would close the shop.  Months later they would open another shop.  The entire time, these people would bad mouth the company I worked for and when they company was no longer number one, tried to take it down.  Their product was always inferior quality and their customers would always come back to us to solve their problems.  Who is the real winner in that situation?

Below, I give you a little insight on what I think about this but I want to hear yours.  How do you see competition?  Do you know who your competition is and how they play the game?  Leave your comments below and thanks for watching, and reading.

Last Post of the Year

My father passed away 11 months and 14 days ago. The only silver lining on his passing was that I no longer had a censor on social media. It is not that I was afraid of him as a parent. It was that I know he was set in his ways and I did not want him to worry about me. Still, there were times that I posted things that would terrify him.

Imagine my surprise when on December, his birth month, several people I know personally have started making comments on post about what I should and should not say on social media. Ironically, on my daddy’s birthday, I have something to say about this.

1) Do not expect me to conform to your way of seeing the world. The same way that you don’t want people telling you what to do, who to believe or what to believe in, I expect the same consideration. I am who I am. I don’t like using dirty words online and I have no problem saying them in public. I am overweight, overtired and smarter than average. If you don’t like me for who I am, I am sure you have plenty of people around that don’t like you either. You can always unfriend, unfollow or just forget about me. There are seven billion people in this world. I am sure I will make new friends.

2) I don’t care for what corporate America thinks. My father, my sister and most people who work in corporate America, cringe when I say something bad about a particular company. Funny how they don’t notice when I say good things about other corporations. I have a voice, I am going to use it. Most importantly, if there is any doubt around, I am a firm believer in capitalism. I believe in not shopping where I don’t care to shop. I will often criticize what I think is a mistake by any corporation in the hopes that someday they finally learn that the reason why many are going under is because they have made short-term gain a priority and if they don’t look at the long-term, they will end, just like Sports Authority, Comp USA and many others before them. I also believe that if a corporation wants to tell me how to think and what to say, then I have a right to do the same about them. For example, if I decide to go back to corporate America, I would never sign anything that says I can no longer state my opinion online. For one thing, I never post the name of the place I work for unless that chapter of my life is over. Second of all, it is nobody’s business what I have to say about anything. Third, my handle is rarely my name and there are plenty of people in the US with my name. If a CEO of a company can email his employees telling them that they should not vote for X candidate because that candidate wanted to start a universal health plan, therefore influencing his thousands of employees to vote a certain way, then I have every right to say that I don’t like X company because they don’t sell organic products. Let’s keep this straight. The days when companies were loyal to their employees are over so telling us how to think is now harder than ever. And just so we are clear. If any family member of mine is fired or asked to interfere in what I write, what I support or what I do with my life, it will be a thrill to see them in court. I have lived all my life in fear. That part of my life is over as the end is closer than the beginning and I now see that living in fear is such a waste of energy.

3) Politically correct is not the same as abusive, insulting and offensive statements. Having said that, I have never said anything offensive. I have stated my truth to the best of my abilities and for that I will never apologize. Unlike poor Steve Martin, who called Carrie Fisher beautiful and was bashed for it, I will not take anything back, especially when I am not insulting the person I am saying it to. If a third-party feels offended, they need psychological help because they should mind their own business. That does not mean that you cannot state your opinion. You have every right to say how you feel, especially when it is something that was stated publicly. Where this goes south is when people decide to bash, demean or insult the other person. We are now in a society where people confuse opinions with facts, and where we lost respect for other people’s opinions. We need to stop this before nobody can say anything because it will offend someone. And the offended people need to stop being so defensive.

4) We have created an environment where social media is only permissible for good news. If people share their engagements, marriages, children, promotions, etc. it is OK. However, when a person decides to share their struggles, their divorces, their miscarriages, cancer or any other reality of life, we are frowned upon and told that we should not share our private life. The last time I looked, marriage, children, promotions and all the other things were part of private life as well. Life is not all ice cream and chocolate. Believe me, if it was, I would be first in line. The reason why social media studies harp so much on the levels of depression generated by “social media envy” is because people are more interested in being liked than they are in being real. Where is it going to end? The saddest part of this is when you read stories of suicide victims. You have a family showing you their college kid’s profile on social media as they tell you that they had no idea that their kid was going through hell. You listen to coworkers of someone state how this person seemed so normal on Facebook and yet they were so desperate for attention they bought a gun and proceeded to shoot ten of the people they worked with. People are ashamed to tell their truth. We are scared to say when we are scared, sad, depressed, lonely or overwhelmed. We live in a society where “negative” feelings are to be avoided at all cost and medicated whenever possible. I have news for you. It is normal to be sad, it is perfectly OK to feel lonely, and there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed or pathetic every once in a while. Having feelings is not positive or negative, what actions we take based on those feelings can have positive or negative impact. There are people around that will not judge you if you are sad and many will love you in spite of having down days.

The reality is very simple. I know most of the critics love me. But they don’t know me. They think that, because they have been in my life for twenty, thirty or all 50 years, they know me and they know what is best for me. They are wrong. If they were right, they would know that when I tell you that I don’t want your opinion, I really don’t want your opinion. If they really knew me, they would know that at this particular point in my life, I would rather declare bankruptcy than go back to a corporate job. Nothing wrong with people who want to work at a job. Me? I feel like I gave up who I was to try to conform for twenty years, mainly to make my dad happy and help put food on the table. I’m done with that. I am now following my truth. Will it be hard? YES. The funny thing is that because I am 50, finding a job in corporate America right now would be harder than succeeding by myself, so I might as well give ME a chance.

Live your truth people. If you don’t, one day, you will meet your end and you will find yourself crying for everything you did not get to do. I have no intention of doing that.

Day 15: The List

I have a lot of friends that feel a certain kind of way about direct marketing, or direct sales.  I have a story for you and this entire post was inspired because I was asked to write a list.

Here’s the thing.  The majority of the people I have on my Facebook account I’ve known since I was a teenager.  Even the people I don’t know personally have been on my list for a long time.  As of today, I have 450 friends.  Ten were added in the last few months and all ten of those I met before I added them.

I believe in supporting all my friends.  That means that when I need a doctor, a lawyer, an architect, anything, I go to my friends first.  I believe if they are good people, there is no reason why I can’t shop from them first.  I also refer people to them because I trust their work.

As of right now, my job is to be a caretaker.  That job does not make ends meet.  The easiest way for me to bend a job to my hours is to start something on my own.  Even though I finally incorporated my business with the help of Legal Zoom, I also started a Jamberry business.

In a world where word of mouth is the easiest, cheapest way to get business, I still have a hard time asking my friends for support.  Today, I was given an assignment to make a list of people I know to host a party.  I could not think of anyone even though I have 450 people listed on my Facebook feed.  What?  That is when I got angry at myself.  And I decided to call bullshit!  Yes, I said it.  I did use a curse word on my own blog even though it goes against my own rules.  Here I go again.  I call bullshit!!!  I’m an honest, decent, hard working person and I deserve the same kindness that I give to all my friends.  Every time one of you opens a page, a business, or a group, I am the first one to sign up and invite my friends.  Every trip I make to Puerto Rico I make sure that one of you gets my business.  When I find out my friends are traveling and need anything, I know exactly where to send them and you all never disappoint.  There is no shame in cross promoting and supporting each other as businesses and friends.  Why should I feel ashamed for my efforts now?

I just noticed how many women run successful Jam businesses and started asking myself the hard questions.  What do they have that I don’t?  Many of the women who are really doing well are shy and unassuming.  I am not.  Some of them live in rural areas.  I do not.  There are some that live in different countries.  I live in USA.  The only difference between those women and me is that they are not afraid to ask their friends and family for their support in this endeavor.

Then I started thinking.  It does not embarrass me to support my friends.  It has never embarrassed them to ask for us to shop at their stores.  I do sell a product but even if it was a service, I would hope that my friends know I would not be working some kind of scam.  So why should I be ashamed that my game involves direct sales?

I am proud of the company I joined and the product we offer.  And you know what?  I do have bills to pay and dreams to achieve.  So this is really very simple.  I know not everybody likes to do their nails.  I also know that not everyone has the money to spare.  I am going to ask you and everyone we know to show some love and support for us at this time.  If you can’t shop for us now, at least share our posts with all your friends so they can shop from us.  And if you are that low on cash, maybe you should consider joining us and making some money on the side.  All I ask is that you show me the same consideration that I show you and honestly support our efforts.

I believe in you and your dreams.  Now it is your turn to believe in mine.

Have something to say?  Make sure you leave your comment below.