A HERO'S SPARK: the final book in the Wicked Women series!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The circle of life isn't about birth and's about booking and hosting!

Good morning!

So this Friday I'm hosting a Tastefully Simple party at my house. For those of you who don't know what that is, well, it's fancy food mixes that are just yummy enough to overlook the price. A friend of mine sells it, and I figured I'd support her a bit by inviting my friends and some church folk over to taste the yummy food and buy it. If enough people buy the mixes, I get something for free.

While this is the first TS party I've hosted, this is hardly the first in home party I've had. It started with an innocent Pampered Chef party. Then a Partylite party. Then another and another. Then I was SELLING Partylite (Which still has THE BEST hostess program on the planet!). I sold for more than four years. In the 2 1/2 years since I stopped selling, I've hosted half a dozen candle parties at my house. And now I'm in the TS loop.

Those of you, and I know there are many of you, who have been to those parties know how it goes. It doesn't matter if the consultant is selling candles, food mixes, baking dishes, or wall hangings. There is always that moment in the party when the "opportunity" to have a party comes up. And of course SOMEONE has to book a party off of this party because if no one books a party then the hostess of the current party won't get as much free stuff as she could if someone would book a party.

And thus a circle of life is born.

When I was selling, I actually called them my circles of hostesses. (Sometimes I called them pods, but that was for a different set of hostesses.) It was always fun when I could link two circles of hostesses together because that would give me the chance at a SUPER where I sold so much product I could split the party into two or three shows, and get the hostess MEGA FREE STUFF. (I was very good at what I did...and my hostesses loved me. But it was exhausting.)

Once you're in one of these circles, you'll never get out. I get emails from three Partylite consultants. I'm only having one candle party this year, because I have limited myself to hosting two parties a year and the TS party on Friday is #1.

Is it worth it, having these parties? Well, if you know what you're doing, absolutely! You can garner a lot of free stuff that will keep you in cheap Christmas and birthday gifts for years. (I haven't paid for a Mother's Day present or a birthday present for my mother, my mother in law, my sisters in law, or my two grown nieces in five years.)

Here's a quick list to keep in mind in case you wind up booking a party. This list was born of many, many years working as a consultant and a hostess, and is designed to get you the most bang for your buck for the least amount of effort and financial output on your part. So, if you keep this list with you when you go to a party, book one with confidence! You can host a very successful party if you follow these steps:

1) Invite every person you've ever known.

E-vites are awesome for this because all you have to do is type in an email. Consultants typically keep guest lists for a hostess, so once you've done a party with a consultant, you won't have to compile a new list ever. Don't be afraid to invite everyone and I MEAN EVERYONE. People out of town...they can look at the catalog online. My guest list typically consists of 60 or more people. I rarely have a party with fewer than 12 people, and I always get tons of free stuff. NO ONE EVER GETS OFFENDED IF YOU INVITE THEM TO YOUR HOUSE FOR ANY REASON.

2) Gather outside orders.

People who say they can't come might still be willing to order. Since most of these product businesses keep their catalogs online, those who aren't coming to the party can still order. Don't let them off the hook. The more sales you get outside the party, the less pressure there is on the guests who do come. (Everyone knows there's a minimum sales level for free stuff. Everyone can do the math. If you have three people sitting in your living room, and you need $250 in sales, it's not going to happen and no one is going to be happy.) Those who don't respond, be sure you drop them a note, a phone call, or an email. Their rude behavior doesn't mean you can't try and get sales. I don't use a lot of pressure, because I'm super lazy. I just say, "Okay, you're not coming. You can still place an order online, remember."

3) Don't go crazy with the snacks.

I saw this all the time doing Partylite. Hostesses would put out a huge spread. The money they spent on food outweighed the free stuff they got. Then they'd complain they couldn't afford to do another party. Here's a tip: Women do not eat that much in front of each other. If you're going to have an abundance of something, have it be beverages (And have wine or beer available. Alcohol helps in these parties BIG TIME!) As for food, keep it simple. A pan of brownies, and maybe some chips. I once hosted a party using only food I had in my kitchen. I made some beer batter bread (From Tastefully Simple. Batter and beer. Yum!) some sour cream herb dip and some brownies and a bag of after dinner mints I had left over from a family gathering. Mixed up some juice I had in the fridge. I did buy two two liter bottles of coke. Hosted 15 people, sold $800 in candles, got $400 in free candles. Total outlay for my food: $3.00 (For the Coke.)

4) Close the night of the party.

This is key. Don't let this thing drag out for eons. Orders must be in the night of the party. Period. End of sentence. I dragged parties out as a hostess and as a consultant and it never works out. There will not be that magical $200 order "Next Monday." It's not going to happen. Close the party that night. Be done.

Keep these four points in mind and you, too, can profit from hosting parties.

Here's the "clip and keep" of these four points:

1) Invite EVERYONE.
2) Gather outside orders.
3) Don't go crazy with the snacks.
4) Close the night of the party.

So I'm going to have an amazing party Friday night and I'm going to get all sorts of free stuff. And when I have my candle party in September, I'll probably invite get ready!

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