Last week, Entrepreneur.com posted “10 Questions to Ask Before Quitting Your Job to Start a Business,” designed to help readers know when the time is right to make the leap from employee to self-employed.
Of course, the author is referring to the type of entrepreneurship that many people think of when they hear that word: start-ups. But when we hear entrepreneurship, we think of the millions of Amway distributors around the world who represent and sell our products.
Entrepreneur.com suggests a self-assessment with questions like these:
• Are you miserable in your current job? They advise developing a strong business plan before jumping ship. Our advice? Yes, do that. You might also consider direct selling to test your true appetite for talking to others about your business and selling your products or ideas.
• How will you raise money to keep your business going? Most new businesses aren’t profitable right away. For start-ups, it takes an average of three to five years to benefit financially. And living without income isn’t feasible for everyone. But in direct selling, you immediately earn retail profit when you sell to a customer. You can keep it or reinvest it, whatever works for you.
• Who are your future customers? Says one expert interviewed, “If you’re not quite sure, consider pursuing your idea part time.” That’s perfect advice for any entrepreneur and direct selling fits right in.
When starting a direct selling business like Amway, some of these questions apply. But some don’t – and that’s the beauty of it.
Image courtesy of this video on female entrepreneurship published by The European Direct Selling Association (SELDIA).
The American Cleaning Institute, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association, represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. Its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Amid strong growth in the direct selling industry, Amway President Doug DeVos wrote about the importance of that first impression in the current issue of Direct Selling News.
“As we look to share our businesses with even more people around the world, the first impression is always the most important and the most lasting,” he said.
That is why ethical business practices are so important. Amway is proud to be a member of the Direct Selling Association, which features a powerful Code of Ethics emphasizing the importance we place, as an industry, on ethics.
“The expectation is that distributors can rely on leaders in their organizations to uphold the highest levels of honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability,” DeVos said. “At the same time, consumers should be able to trust that people in this industry possess strong principles, moral character and sound judgment.”
During last month’s annual meeting of the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF), looking down at attendees’ feet would have been more apropos than at most business conferences. After all, it was the only way to see who was wearing a pedometer and how many miles they’d walked in three days.
All of that walking raised funds for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that helps 400,000 high-risk students worldwide achieve their potential with programs that:
Ensure school feels relevant to their lives.
Instill an entrepreneurial mindset.
Teach and guide real business planning experience.
Provide teachers with entrepreneurship curriculum in 50 countries.
Teach creative thinking, market research, sales and marketing, and business and financial fundamentals.
DSEF members also got to meet students who participate in NFTE, like 14-year-olds Guadalupe Gamino and Oliver Gamez. This past year, Gamino invented “Tranzparent Heel Holderz” for women who struggle with walking in dress shoes. Gamez’s business will teach Spanish to teachers so they can communicate with unilingual parents.
Once students join NFTE, they typically have improved reading and math scores and better school attendance. They also become more focused on career planning.
The organization began in Brooklyn, New York, and has quickly spread to include partner programs like the Bright China Foundation, Foróige in Ireland, and others in India, New Zealand, Israel, Germany, Belgium, Colombia and Chile.
Supporting NFTE – a perfect way to walk the walk for an industry dedicated to helping people flourish and grow.
It’s his second time to serve at the top level of this organization, as he was chairman from 2001 to 2002. And it’s a position his father, Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel, held as well.
According to U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, Steve and the Amway family embody the value of entrepreneurship and the freedom to take risks.
“In order for business to grow and create jobs, you need an environment that encourages creativity, innovation, hard work and opportunities for people to succeed,” Steve said in his recent speech at the U.S. Chamber’s CEO Leadership Series. “This is the way we need to approach business if we want long-term growth and prosperity.”
Amway Co-Founder Rich DeVos was inducted into the Direct Selling Association (DSA) Hall of Fame in 1979. That year, Trivial Pursuit was launched as a board game and Blondie and the Bee Gees topped the U.S. musical charts. Two of Rich’s sons, Dick and Doug, were in their teens and 20s.
Yesterday, Dick and Doug also took their place among those who’ve dedicated the most time, effort and devotion to our industry. The Hall of Fame Award honors individuals who have given significant years of service and have made considerable contributions to DSA, Direct Selling Educational Foundation (DSEF), and the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations; and have shown commitment to the future of the entire sales channel.
It is considered the industry’s highest honor, but it wasn’t the evening’s only acknowledgement.
The DSA also bestowed, for only the second time in history, its Lifetime Achievement Award. It was given to Rich for the remarkable contributions that he, along with Jay Van Andel, have made to the industry over the years.
DSA President Joe Mariano fittingly ended the evening’s celebration with these words: “May we all continue to change lives, make the world a better place, and inspire entrepreneurs – the dreamers and the doers who move our industry forward and keep it strong.” At Amway, we certainly plan to. After all: Like father, like sons.
Earlier today, Amway President Doug DeVos sat down in Grapevine, Texas, in front of members of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA), with former President George W. Bush. The conversation took place at the DSA Annual Meeting, themed “Inspiring Entrepreneurs.”
Bush opened up to Doug and the audience, answering questions ranging from “What is it like to not be President anymore?” to “What was 9/11 like from your perspective – from the time you heard America was under attack in that classroom throughout the capture of Osama Bin Laden?”
Bush shared his insights on business leadership as well, including that “Culture can’t be created around individuals. It has to be created around principles,” and “You can’t fake optimism. You have to believe in something to lead it.”
He also joked that his new domestic policy was to help his wife Laura with the dishes and that he had the best commute ever while living and working in the White House – just 45 seconds!
All in all, it was a great way to kick off a day of education for the industry that DSA Vice Chairman Anne Butler called “the ultimate meritocracy.”
While we like to talk about the science behind our products — and there’s a lot to say — the real story is about our experts who stand behind the science.
To be precise, our company employs 800 scientists, engineers and technicians, responsible for more than 950 patents granted and 850 pending, who work at 65 labs around the world.
In tandem with well known global partners and highly regarded scientific leadership, our talented R&D, QA and Analytical Sciences team builds and refines a strong product portfolio.
In collaboration with our manufacturing and marketing teams, they discover, develop, test and help deliver more than 450 nutrition, beauty and home products to Amway distributors and their customers worldwide.
Check out this video from our Research and Development team to find more about the people — behind the science — behind our products.
“Entrepreneurs are innovative, have good ideas and are willing to try new things. They work best in an environment with fewer unnecessary and burdensome regulations,” he said. “If we applied these principles to business, we’d see more hiring, more confidence and more optimism than what we have today.”
Harnessing these qualities will “unleash a spirit of entrepreneurship – where hard work is rewarded, innovation and creativity are encouraged, failure is not feared.”
In their pre-Amway days, Co-Founders Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos embarked on a sailing trip to the Caribbean. They didn’t let the fact that neither of them knew how to sail stop them from their wanderlust.
Well, the boat sank in the waters off Cuba, but one of the things salvaged was the boat’s bell, which Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel will talk about in his May 2 speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.
“It’s something I keep right outside my office at Amway’s headquarters as a constant reminder of Dad and Rich’s sense of adventure and willingness to take on new challenges,” Steve says. “These were two guys not easily deterred by hard work or rejection.”
Steve will highlight the importance of that adventurous spirit when he visits the Chamber. It will be a familiar venue for him. He has served on the Chamber board since 1996, is a past chairman and currently serves as treasurer.
Our guest blogger is social media consultant Cami Reister.
Disclaimer: The authors of these blogs are Amway employees. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of Amway or any other person or company.