I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Kay consultant and superstar, Christine Rabel. Christine shares her insight about being an entrepreneur versus an employee and her networking tips that have helped her achieve great success as a Mary Kay consultant.
Q: What was the main reason you decided to be an entrepreneur vs. working for others?
A: I had worked for years in the computer industry, and found out through a sympathetic new-hire, that after all of the years that I’d been working with them, I still made 1/3 less than the men in my same position…including the new-hires! I had been the go-to person for years for customer satisfaction, especially difficult clients, not because I was the most clever or talented, but because I had the people skills, and the networking skills within the company, to pool the resources to provide excellent service on a very tight timeline. Sadly, all of the accolades on the Corporate wall made no difference in my salary.
Q: What issues/obstacles have you faced being an entrepreneur vs. an employee?
A: Discipline. With myself and helping others recognize that I was working a legitimate business, and needed them to respect my time, too. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had friends and family say, “But you’re home, right? Why can’t you go/do...?” Ensuring that I also respect what I do as a business helps me stay on track, even though I love it so much, I’d do it for free.
Q: What inspires, motivates and encourages you in your journey as an entrepreneur?
A: Knowing that I’m making a difference in someone’s life. Knowing that I am a very small piece of great things to come. Knowing that success is within their reach. And feeling the joy and gratitude when it happens for them. I say my “thank-you’s” every day.
Q: What have you learned is most important about networking?
A: Even if you need to promote yourself, networking is really never about you. It’s about the person in front of you, who wants you to know what’s important to THEM. When you know what’s important to them, then you can help them get it. Then, by extension, they will want to help you, too.
Q: What support, tools or other learning has helped you to network effectively?
A: I’ve gotten so much terrific advice from Mary Kay Corporate about the best ways to handle networking. But even before Corporate became quite so involved, I was trying out Twitter and Facebook, and realized that suddenly, I had a world-wide audience who might actually want to hear what I had to say! I befriended people all over the world, and had exposure to those I would never have otherwise met. Even then, promoting others was a given. I have customers ALL over the U.S., and some in Europe and Australia. Free networking worldwide! And those same friends wanted to teach me what had worked best for them.
Q: What has been your best experience networking?
A: There are far too many to list! But undoubtedly, it’s not the “big money” experiences that rate the most…it’s the friendships that have developed with quality women and men from all parts of the world. I wouldn’t trade those friendships for anything.
Q: What has been your worst experience networking?
A: When I was brand new in the business, I took a leap of faith at a Bridal Event. It was expensive to register, but supposed to be fantastic; hundreds of brides-to-be, their moms, their best friends/bridesmaids, etc. to meet…and I didn’t get ONE PERSON to put their name in my drawing for a free consultation for the entire wedding party. I found out at the end of the day, there had been another consultant (from another beauty company) standing outside the door with a flower to hand them, and a small paper to fill out for their own FREE CONSULTATION. Live and learn. Keeping YOUR integrity will see you through even those “undesirable” moments.
Q: What tips do you suggest to others as they network?
A: Listen. Really listen. Repeat key phrases so it registers in your brain, and so you will remember others when you see a need you can fill for them. By filling a need for them (or in helping them fill a need for someone else), you will become a superstar; you will be regaled as the hero that you are by having so many others speak well of you. Word-of-mouth advertising is always the BEST advertising.
Q: How does networking help you in your business?
A: Networking helps me to multiply myself. As before, when you help others, it comes back to you. But you have to be “visible” for most people to remember you. That can mean in person, on-line, in print, on the phone. When you are “present” and “visible” you can guarantee that people will keep you in mind and share about you with those who listen to them and respect their opinion, and it is a compliment when THEIR opinion is that YOU are worth learning about!
You can connect with Christine via her website: http://www.marykay.com/CRabel