My first go at commission-only sales, and what it taught me

I know my strengths, and in my strengths, I am CONFIDENT.

In Autumn 2016, I could be found flogging (trying to flog) Talk Talk broadband packages on street corners from Sheffield to Grindleford.

I always wondered why people would sign up for 2-year internet contracts from young-ish sales people on street corners, but people did.

At least, people did regularly for my much more competent colleagues! Who were always more confident and charismatic and than was –

But what a baptism into breaking the barrier of self-consciousness it was for me…

After doing that from morning until evening 6 days a week, I certainly grew in confidence if not in pocket.

I’m not entirely even sure what I was selling, if I’m honest. Only that it was £17.50 for the first 6 months and £27 thereafter.

I had no passion or interest in what I was selling, but at that point, a commission-only independent sales job was the only one I could find.

I stuck at it for 6 weeks, which was at least 4 or 5 weeks longer than many of my other unsuccessful colleagues.

Needless to say, the Sheffield-based marketing company had a problem with staff retention as I wasn’t the only one struggling.

I was able to give it a good go however because, very luckily for me, my father supported me by paying for my transport and food, but low mood and lack of earnings got to me in end.

In 6 weeks, working approx. 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, I earned around £320. Averaging around a pound something an hour, I think.

Insane, isn’t it. But such was my earnest to stick it out and be successful.

Shortly after that, my physical health deteriorated and I was unable to work, salaried or otherwise.

I had only needed a job in Autumn 2016 because I was unable to work any longer in hospital due to the manual demands on my body. But it is not an experience I regret –

I learnt SO MUCH.

Following this stint at self-employment, I discovered Grant Cardone’s books, and understood very quickly that I had no love for the product (broadband internet) which Cardone insisted was SO essential.

And I could have – how useful is broadband compared to dial-up? It’s literally changed the world.

But I knew also, from observing my colleagues, that I simply wasn’t an effective enough people person.

I was good at caring for patients, but I couldn’t SELL a product because I couldn’t SELL myself…

I’ve always struggled with that sort of confidence.

I look very different, and I am often not sure how to dress and so I hold myself timidly, not always comfortable with my appearance.

I was always an introvert, and this will never change, nor does it need to –

I know my strengths, and in my strengths, I am CONFIDENT.

No, I couldn’t convince people to join 24-month contracts from pokey Talk Talk podiums on the street.

But I have already convinced some of the value of my copywriting services, and my efforts have barely begun.

I’m awkward, I don’t know how to rest very well because my brain doesn’t switch off much, and I have a broken and bizarre work history –

But I’m committed, I’m smart, and I’m creative, and I’m very excited for the career I have in front of me.

I hope I will meet you and your business along the way…

Learning the language of business (and other languages)

This was my failure at languages – mainly my lack of vocabulary a chronic lack of practice.

I recently resumed my independent language studies (something I have been trying and failing at since I was 18) but nevertheless the study of foreign grammar always interested me!

I know why I constantly failed in my teens and twenties:

Firstly, I always gave up – I never had the opportunity to travel and spend time in a country who’s language I was dedicating so many hours into studying, and eventually learning just felt pointless.

I also got confused and frustrated pretty often, since with no teacher to guide me, a lot of pronunciation and grammar points totally eluded me.

In addition, the first language I studied independently was Japanese! As was my great interest in Japan, and my continual love for the Japanese language and it’s beautiful sound (not to be confused with Chinese as it so often is) –

As a young woman, I studied and used the two Japanese alphabets but their main and most complicated writing system, the kanji, intimidated me into giving up…

However, with the development of so much more free language material online and on the App stores, language learning is more accessible than it has ever been before –

And kanji learning is certainly a lot easier with dedicated kanji script apps, but I have not yet returned to Japanese, I have returned to German.

I have a German surname as my grandfather was an Austrian and I have gained dual citizenship with Austria…

I am speaking about language learning because, you guessed it, it feels a lot like building a business 😉

With language learning it is grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and practice – all are vital, and without one the rest of them fall.

This was my failure at languages – mainly my lack of vocabulary a chronic lack of practice.

I have some better methods for vocabulary learning now, and I am intending to visit Austria in the near future to practice German with those who are actually my fellow countrymen…

I have found that with building a business, especially for someone who is not a natural born entrepreneur (like me), and who can not outsource because they’re on a tight budget (also like me), there are many tasks which must similarly be developed slowly and surely –

• A professional looking website

• Professional content

• Plenty of content!

• Visual elements such as professional enough looking social media posts

• A targeted and effective digital marketing strategy

• Anything else which may and will arise!

And I’m delighted to be able to do these things since not too many years ago, I was not physically able to be so productive.

But building my business has been a struggle, but I know it is (slowly!) taking great shape.

I absolutely BELIEVE in my product, the services I am offering, and I KNOW and I will be of enormous use to my fellow small business owners.

I have a strong skill, but it has taken a long time to build the accompanying business in order to effectively promote it.

I return to language learning (to German, maybe to Japanese, maybe to French, maybe to a couple of others), not because I intend to become fluent, but because they are very enjoyable and engaging pastimes. As well as being useful, educative activities!

Like I said, I like learning foreign grammar. I think it is the problem solving aspect which I like – to discover how phrases and sentences work, and to be able to, very slowly, begin to build them myself.

Maybe, in the coming years, I will be able to travel a little – maybe I will even make it as far as Japan…

In the meantime, I will continue to busy myself with the many tasks necessary to build and maintain my business, and I will dip in and out of my language materials leisurely –

Perhaps one day, I will write a blog post from the shore of one of the many beautiful lakes in otherwise landlocked (!) Austria…

It would certainly be liberating to be able to take my technology and work anywhere on the planet I choose –

Isn’t that what the successful, Instagramming entrepreneurs like to do?

But where in the world am I going to find a city so full of trees and hills as Sheffield? Perhaps Rio de Janeiro…

But I don’t know a word of Portuguese!

I’ll have to work on that 😉

Assimilation into the business owner collective

Be obsessed with discovering your route to success.

For all new business owners, there is an absolute wealth of business information and advice freely available via a multitude of platforms online –

Through social media posts, blog posts, personal websites, business websites, online media channels, and if that isn’t enough, you can create your own library with the sheer number of business books available for purchase and download.

I spend much of my days reading and researching and taking notes, but it is difficult attempting to assimilate so much information at once.

The books which started me on my business journey were those by American real estate entrepreneur Grant Cardone –

A very charismatic and no nonsense businessman and writer with a knack for provoking your mind into creating new pathways for learning and progress.

His book Be Obsessed or Be Average (2016) could begin and end with just the front cover –

I wonder if you have read it, or can guess what he’s talking about?

Be obsessed with discovering your route to success.

He advocates spending almost every moment of your life on it, and although wellness experts would object, the principle holds true –

Perhaps because I spent so long in my void, in my state of confusion and fear in response to my various health crises, I still cling on to this message I actually read years ago in his book.

I read and research and try to understand as much as I can about building a successful copywriting business.

But like I said at the start of this post, it is difficult to assimilate large amounts of business information – but I have a system…

From my years being physically unable to write and type, I now enjoy being able to make notes and to write with one of my many, colourful pens – and when my hands are tired from writing or typing, I can just speak into my mobile or laptop microphone to complete my notes or my work.

I offer no pretence that I am a highly knowledgeable or successful business owner –

I am a newbie, a beginner. And I have ambition.

But it is my intention to fill this blog with as much useful information about building a successful business on a budget as possible. Information which I discover through my research –

But, why?

Because I am skilled at reading, deciphering and presenting information.

I won’t infringe upon any copywriting laws by publishing any extracts from books – all the information which I will share will be my take on a topic or subject relevant to this small business blog.

I want to be able to publish regularly, and I want every post to be insightful.

This is one of the tasks which I am dedicating my time to right now:

I hope to build trust with the small business community online, and I hope to be able to to present my skills as a valuable tool for others to build more successful businesses by.

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