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A Heartbreaking E-Mail (Video Follow-Up) - Stamping Is My Business!

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March 23, 2012

A Heartbreaking E-Mail (Video Follow-Up)

Well, yesterday's video on 'Should I Charge For Workshops?' struck a nerve with many of you.  I received a lot of e-mails from stamping business owners who agreed with the points in the video... and some from those who disagreed. 

I do think there was some confusion, though, as to the type of event I was specifically talking about in the video.  For that reason, I've re-recorded the video to make it more clear.  You can view the revised video in the post below.

Among the e-mails I received yesterday was this one.  It really breaks my heart when I get e-mails like this, because I think these situations are so unnecessary.  I'm sharing it with you as a cautionary tale, and I'll speak about it more at the end:

Dear John,

Even though I ceased to be a (stamping business owner) a few months ago, I stayed on your email list because I like the content you provide.  I hope you don't mind.

When I saw your video on whether or not you should charge for workshops, I felt compelled to write and share my story.  I don't mind if you share it with others, but please remove my name.

I signed up to be a (stamping business owner) several months ago because I needed to make money.  I was laid off a few months earlier, and didn't have much left in my bank account.

Once I got my starter kit, I started calling my friends to see if they would do a workshop.  I was surprised by the fact that all of them said no.

When I spoke to my upline about this, she told me I shouldn't call it a workshop.  Instead, I should call it a 'private class.'  When I asked her what the difference was, she said there was none.  Except that I should charge everyone $7 and offer to give the money back if they place an order.

When I asked if there should be a minimum amount on the order so I'm not making less than $7 (which I thought was pretty low to begin with) in commissions, she said that wasn't the point.

I asked her if the hostess should tell the people she invites they can get the fee waived, and she said no.  She said that if they know they're going to be sold to, they won't come. 

I felt very uneasy about this because I thought I wasn't being honest with my future customers.  I also wasn't happy to hear my upline say that people wouldn't buy product if they knew that was what they were coming for.  When I shared these feelings with her, she said 'all of the top Demonstrators are doing it and if I wanted to be successful, this was what I had to do.'

John, I'm sorry to say I didn't listen to my gut and went ahead and did it.  It was a disaster.  When I started passing out catalogs and talking about buying product at the end of the 'class' you could feel the mood in the room change.  It felt awful.  I felt awful.  The people who were there were not happy.  A few people did actually buy products, but I've never seen unhappier customers in my life.

I was so upset, I never did anything with my business again.  I thought I'd confront my upline when she called, but she never did.  Even after I went into pending.

Please let your readers know if they're going to do an event like this to be up front about the fact you're going to pass out catalogs and sell product at the end. 

John, I know you're probably taking a lot of c**p from people today for your video, but I think you're spot on with your message and it needs to be said.  If I saw this video earlier, I may still be a (stamping business owner). 


(name removed)

I wanted you all to read this because I think it's important to understand what can happen when ideas are left unchecked and unregulated.  Even ideas that may start out as good ones with the best of intentions are often tweaked and adjusted until they're a shadow of their former selves. 

And as upline, it's important to think about the ideas you share with your downline, and the messages those ideas send them

Finally, to (name removed), my message is this:  you should sign up again! 

I know you had a bad experience, but I think it was an isolated one.  Maybe you need to find an upline who shares the same ideas you do, but I can tell you as someone who's been working with stamping business owners for over 12 years, there's never been a better time to start your own stamping business!

There's more potential now, and you have more tools at your disposal, than ever before!  I hope you reconsider, because I think this can still be a tremendous opportunity for you.

And if any of you want to be this person's upline, send me an e-mail.  I don't know what she's doing now, or if she wants to come back, but I'm going to send her a long reply today, and I'll include the list of people who would like to work with her.


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KIM... I agree with you. The most important thing is to not be deceptive. I'm also not a big fan of decreasing your profit in order to increase your sales, which is my other problem with this model, but that's an entirely different video. :-)

I can see both sides to this story. I think the key is 1. finding out what type of events your hostesses and customers want (have some choices) and 2. giving clear expectations of what will happen during their choice of event. I have heard rave results of increased sales and customer satisfaction from offering personal classes as an option from both a couple of top demos and testimonials from some downline. The sad ending to this one particular story may have resulted from the feeling of being deceptive, not from the concept of the private class itself. I'm still debating and keeping open on what to do myself, since noone in my area seems to want workshops - only classes, clubs and camps.

JAN... I'm going to write a whole blog post about this in the next couple of days.

DIANE... I agree. Also, another questionable question... "How old do you think I am?" :-)

I think the most important part of this sad email is her admonition to be up front about the fact that there will be sales at this type of an event. That way participants know and if they want to take advantage of the class fee being waived they can order. If they don't, they'll pay their fee and (hopefully) have had a great time.

Honesty is always the best policy (except perhaps in answer to the question: "Do I look fat in this?")

Thanks for letting me comment!

John, why do you think now is the best time to start a stamping business?

And I think it needs to be said that NOT all of the top Demos are doing this. And certainly not the way I describe in the video. Most of the top Demos I know, in fact, are not doing it at all.

This just goes to show, yet again, that just because "The top demos" are doing something doesn't mean it's a wise business move. Most of those girls are making plenty of money off their downline and they think this is the cost of doing business. When it's not a top demo doing this, this IS the cost of doing business - and that cost is high - unhappy customers, unhappy demo, and eventually, a dropped demo. The uplines that are promoting this to their downlines should go through training again.

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