Doing Your Best

Doing Your Best with Janice Harmon

Episode Highlights:

  • [0:52] Who is Janice?
  • [1:12] Janice’s early days in the fashion retail business
  • [2:05] A brief history of Janice’s direct selling business
  • [2:44] What made Janice turn to direct selling
  • [4:25] Why Janice chose the topic of doing your best
  • [5:56] How to stretch and grow yourself
  • [7:29] Can direct selling afford you a BMW?
  • [9:09] Measuring your targets
  • [9:47] How to get yourself and your team out of their comfort zone
  • [14:10] Why visualisation is important in goal setting
  • [14:52] Top three reasons why people don’t do their best
  • [16:56] Why good enough is not really good
  • [18:23] Janice’s “I made it moment”
  • [20:08] Must have books for direct sellers
  • [21:31] What excites Janice about the industry
Work Success Quote


[0:39] Jen: Welcome to the show everybody. Today, I’m so excited to have Janice Harmon with us today. Janice is from an Australian party plan company in the fashion industry. Welcome, to the show, Janice.

[0:50] Janice: Thank you.

[0:52] Jen: I’m excited to be talking to you today about Doing Your Best. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself first? What’s your background?


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[0:58] Janice: Well my background is – well, obviously earlier year’s a fashion background and then helped to co-direct my husband’s family business which was Exterior Home Renovations. So, so far from fashion.

[1:12] Jen: What did you do in the fashion industry prior to this?

[1:15] Janice: A little bit of retail and then was also involved in promotional work as well. I’m also involved, I won’t mention the company, but a major retail company in Melbourne, so a little bit about fashion history, quite a lot of promotional history as well for different companies, yes.

[1:36] Jen: What about your family situation? So you’re married, you mentioned your husband

[1:40] Janice: Married for 32 years. Clearly I was a child bride. I’ve got two sons, 21 and 25, so one of those is still at university so I’m still supporting him. So the income obviously helps to do that. And yes, children are flying the coop, so to speak. So I’m free to really honed in on my business again.

[2:05] Jen: Can you tell us a little bit about your business? Give us a short overview.

[2:08] Janice: I started with direct selling about 25 years ago and very quickly it became a full time job, which surprised me. I went to an event of another party plan company and had a look at it and saw it, well, if she can do it, so can I. And so, very quickly went to management and as I said, it’s my full time job.

I’ve got consultants in regional areas, also interstates so I don’t see distance as a problem. And I prefer to focus my energies, most of my energies are on developing my consultants’ business because I feel with 25 years experience, I’ve got a lot to offer.

[2:44] Jen: So why did you get involved in direct selling?

[2:48] Janice; Well, as I mentioned earlier, I was sitting at a party of something else but then I have a six-month old baby who I was taking to the office with me because I could do that because it was our business. So that was quite difficult. We’re also in the middle of a recession so we needed the extra money and you know, young married couple too, so obviously, I wanted something that was going to fit around my first son and so I decided this could be a good fit for me. And as it turned out it was. And very quickly after that, I told my husband he had to hire someone else to run his office and do his promotional [crosstalk][3:25] Jen: Sorry, dear. [laughs][3:26] Janice: So we had to go and pay someone and I pursued my career in – and I call it a career in direct selling.

[3:34] Jen: So if you weren’t in direct selling, what do you think your life would look like? What would you be doing? How would it be different?

[3:39] Janice: I think I would still be self-employed. That’s something I’ve always wanted to be and was previously to direct selling. I don’t think I would have had the flexibility, though, that direct selling has given me. And also, I probably would have been in some sort of fashion still, I think or something along those lines. But I think I perhaps could have been a different person because direct selling does actually throw a lot of challenges at you if you’re willing to take them on board. And things like public speaking, promotions to win, you get the opportunity to travel the world and all those things mould you as a person. I think I’m probably a much more confident and fulfilled person than I would have been, otherwise.

[4:25] Jen: Geez, I love to hear that. [laughs] Look, I know you’re excited to talk with me today about Doing Your Best. Can you tell me why this particular topic stood out for you and what it means to you?

[4:34] Janice: Well, doing your best stood out for me because basically, that’s how I live my life. I’ve always wanted my sons to live the same as well, to always do their best so it was always important for me, for myself and my husband to be that sort of role model. So it’s definitely how I run my business and my personal life.

So whether it’s sport, going to the gym, or going about my business, I always want to be, not the best, but I want to be the best I can be. And for me, that means not leaving any fuel in the tank. I don’t like looking back and thinking I could have done that better. I’m not saying that never happened, of course it has, but I would prefer that it didn’t.

[5:15] Jen: Sometimes we can underestimate our abilities, how do you know that you’re actually doing your best?

[5:21] Janice: Well, as I said earlier, I really believe doing your best is knowing you’ve given something everything you can. And as I said that, that doesn’t mean I’ve achieved that all the time, but I know that if I could have done something better or put more effort into it, I think you know deep down that you’ve done your best. You can only fool yourself for so long. So you know I could have done better or I could have tried a bit harder there. You know if you’ve done your best or not. And some people are very good at diluting themselves but I think if you’d be honest with yourself, you know whether you’ve done your absolute best or not.

[5:56] Jen: So how do you stretch and grow yourself?

[5:59] Janice: Look, I like to live life in general as a motivated person and I don’t rely on other people to motivate me. I like to frequently set fresh goals and I know that’s probably a weathered answer, but whether they be personal or business related, it’s generally if it’s personal, the business has to pay for that anyway but I also like to believe that I’m a person that believes that you can achieve anything if you believe it’s possible and you’re willing to work for it. That’s the key.

I like to read motivational books, business books because I find that it might just be one idea or even one line in a book that can really motivate you or help you reinvent an area of your business and it has me running off on a tangent. Stretching and growing myself – to me that also means being creative. I like to come up with fresh ways to approach different aspects of our business, particularly direct selling. There’s probably three main keys/areas. There’s booking, selling, and recruiting and so you need to constantly have fresh waves of approaching that for yourself and for your consultants.

I look at people like, the late David Bowie or even Madonna. They stood the test of time, not because they kept doing the same old, same old. They continually reinvented themselves and I think that’s a big key to keep yourself motivated and excited.

[7:29] Jen: Can you share an example or a story about this for me?

[7:33] Janice: In the business, from day one, I was always more interested in recruiting and developing people than personal sales. I always knew I had a personal sales ability. I was okay, but I never really focused on that. And about six years ago, I can’t remember exactly how long ago but roughly, I decided I might give that a bell just to switch things around a bit.

I also was on a mission to rebuild my team. I’ll build my team up again and of course, if you were in front of a lot of people that’s easier to do. So what I did was, I decided to get stuck into the personal sales and to me that was reinventing myself. So what I did was, in the first 12 months of doing that, I made it into the top 10 national managers personal sales. In the second year I was number three. And I’ve been in the top 10 ever since. [laughs]And then on a personal level, I had always wanted a BMW and I used to watch other people drive around in their luxury cars while I was in my Hyundai which was nothing wrong with that but I looked at the BMW’s and the Audi’s and so – if they can have one, there’s no reason why I can’t. And of course that personal goal helped support my business goal of personal selling because I was earning more money. And yes, I got the BMW and it was a big mistake because it was so expensive to upkeep. But you know, that’s just sort of how I would sort of stretch myself personally or reinvent myself, or look for something new to challenge myself with.

[9:09] Jen: And how do you measure your progress?

[9:11] Janice: Well, obviously, you’ve got your targets set and I would monitor those targets usually monthly and generally as I said my business goals, I would always be looking for an increase even if it’s the smallest increase on the previous month, on the same month last year. So for me, even if it’s a $200 increase, it’s an increase. I’m always trying to better the year before and in other ways monitoring my progress whether they are team sales, personal sales, recruiting, you can do the same with all areas of the business.

[9:47] Jen: Doing your best sometimes means going outside your comfort zone, when you mentor your team, how do you work with them to help get them out of their comfort zone?

[9:55] Janice: I think the quickest way for someone to achieve or be successful or to do their best is to get out of their comfort zone and the quickest way to get out of your comfort zone is to do your best. You can reverse that.

I’ve got a real belief that I think when people say I’ll try or I can’t do that, I just think that’s really indulgent and I’m not frightened to be honest and say that to someone and I think that it’s an excuse. And I think if you’re running your business saying I’ll try and do that, it’s like driving the car with the handbrake on it. It always holds you back.

So when I’m mentoring my team, I think it’s crucial for them to get on board with whatever idea or project we’re working on and getting someone out of their comfort zone is best done by increments, little baby steps. So I’m continually looking for growth and even if it’s the smallest amount; it might be one extra party in this forward program  more than they had last week or their best ever party by a hundred dollars. You’re always looking for that little bit of growth and returns to celebrate it, but there does come a time when team members do need to take a bigger step and that’s the stepping out of the comfort zone. It’s a bit of a leap of faith and I think for you to be able to get your girls to do that, they need to trust you and you need to lead from the front.

When my team members see me achieving, I’m showing them that it’s possible. It’s like the people who were driving around in their BMW. They’ve got one. It’s possible. I just have to work out how to get it. So I’m continually telling my consultants they can do it. I’m constantly telling them I believe in them and then I keep measuring their progress for them and I’m looking from the outside in.

I can see qualities in them that they may not even know they have yet. I believe it’s crucial, big crucial part of getting girls to step out of their comfort zone is that they need to trust you and they need to absolutely believe that you’re putting their success before your own. Then you’ve got their loyalty and trust and that goes a long, long way.

[12:04] Jen: Can you share any stories of team members’ challenges they may have had, how they got out of their comfort zone, and what they achieved?

[12:11] Janice: I have a new consultant last year that springs to mind. She only started in March and by the end of August she won a trip to Thailand. Now this was…[crosstalk][12:22] Jen: Wow!

[12:24] Janice: This was someone who really didn’t think she even had what it took to be a successful consultant. She really questioned whether she could even do what I was doing. The first thing that I did was I took her to a meeting to show that we all didn’t have two heads or we all didn’t look like our Elle McPherson and straightaway she said, “Oh, I feel like I fit in here”. That was sort of building up her confidence, but getting back to – we talked about her winning the trip and I explained to her that these trips we’re company promotions for anyone to win, not just the top flyer, it could be the brand new kid on the block which she was.

So we just broke it down into weekly amounts what she needed to do. I checked and double checked she was on target and then it’s not just all about having nice conversations about – you know you need to be selling a little bit more if you want to stay on target. How about you hop on the phone and make those extra phone calls? How about – do you know anyone who do party swaps with?

Whatever it took to get some extra shows, and forward programs, but when they’re on board and they’re starting to believe they can go on this trip then the stepping out of the comfort zone becomes a bit easier because they got this target. Also, there was a recruiting element to that trip which was right out of her comfort zone because she was brand new herself. I just broke it down to a mathematical equation. If you keep asking, you’ll find them. If you turn over enough rocks, you’ll find the girl who says yes.

Other things I did with her to get her to believe she could step out of that comfort zone and win that trip was I got her to go and get her passport updated and we talked about what we’re going to do when we got to Thailand even though she hadn’t won the trip, and she won. It was really exciting. And I’ve got another really quick example.

[14:08] Jen: That’s incredible.

[14:10] Janice: Yes. Not that really very quick example, I did a little exercise with my team once and I’ve got all these photos from glossy mags and put them on the table. And other people may have done this before, but I find it really works, like holidays, pictures of furniture, cars, jewellery, whatever. And I asked all the girls to pick what they would like and one of the girls had just built a house and she picked a beautiful landscaped garden and she wanted to earn the money to have that landscaping done.

There’s nothing like a good visual to motivate someone to do their best. And when they try to do their best, they will step out of their comfort zone and they’re much more open to your suggestions and advise, and yes, she got the landscaped garden.

[14:52] Jen: Wow. So, what do you think are the top three reasons that stops people from doing their best?

[14:59] Janice: Well I think you probably know what number one is, and that would be that they don’t have a reason to do their best, so they don’t. Whatever you want to call it, a goal, a reason, a target, you’ve got to have something you’re working towards because you’re not motivated to try and do your best if you not got that.

Probably number two would be, sometimes people lose confidence and so they lose their way and you need as a mentor, you need to be – get that back for them, remind them of their wins.

Probably the number one – probably one of the main reasons I think people don’t do their best is they get – they lose their focus. They lose their focus completely. When you’re not focus on something, then obviously you’re not going to do your best.

[15:43] Jen: So how do you think people can overcome this?

[15:45] Janice: I’ve got a famous saying, “I can hear an excuse coming on.” But, don’t make excuses, to yourself.” That would be one. And always know what you’re aiming at and sometimes when you’re aiming for something you don’t get it the first time. You might not get it the second time, but you need to revisit or readjust. And that helps you stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.

I think to actually treat your business as a business. So many people in the direct selling industry treat it as a hobby or they don’t give it the priority it deserves so if someone rings them and says, “I can’t do such and such, can you fill in for me.” They’re likely to put their business last and something else first. So they need to treat it as a business and give it the priority it deserves. And also, if you surround yourself with really positive, inspiring people, that’s a big key and to have a good mentor. So a positive group of people and good mentor I think all those elements, rolled into one make it much easier for someone to do their best.

[16:56] Jen: We still have this mindset of “that will do, it’s good enough” and it’s easy to fall into that. Why do you think we need to go beyond that and how do you think we can develop a mindset so it’s habitual?

[17:07] Janice: Well, near enough, good enough, to me that’s a copout. It’s like saying, “I’ll try”. To me, there is no try. You’re either going to do something or you’re not going to do something. So there’s nothing in between for me. It’s a bit black and white. My simple advice to keep that mindset is – it’s not rocket science, really. If you are always working on a target that is a stretch for you, that doesn’t have to be a big stretch, then you obviously have to be working towards doing your best. If you’re working towards something that’s not a stretch, then I would suggest that it’s not a goal. It’s not a goal if it’s not a stretch.

So if you’re always working towards something that’s a stretch for you then you have to be bettering your best. You are on the right track, anyway. And I have to say there’s nothing more motivating or inspiring than doing your best at a demonstration, your best ever week, your best ever month, your best ever year, that’s the inspiring thing. And the best thing about that is it’s your own PV, it’s not someone else’s. So that would be my advice to keep that mindset. Always be aiming to improve even in the slightest and that way you’ll always be stretching yourself.

[18:23] Jen: Can you share with us, what does it feel like for you when you first experienced that, “I made it” moment?

[18:28] Janice: I remember my first thousand-dollar party which was a gazillion years ago. Back in the early 90’s it’s not a lot of money now, but back in the early 90’s, in 1991, a thousand dollars was a lot of money.

I remembered doing my first thousand-dollar party and that was very, very exciting for me. But I think probably the “I’ve made it moment” was when I went to manager and when I first started this business, I looked at the management structure and saw, well, if I want to make this a business, that’s where you need to be.

I got there very quickly and I did that by being like a dog with the bone. I was asking people to join that I didn’t even know. [Laughs] But that was probably when I’ve made manager. My first thousand dollar when I made manager and maybe the first overseas trip, also. I remember walking out…[crosstalk][19:21] Jen: Where did you go?

[19:22] Janice: We went to Hawaii and I was able to take my husband and my then 18-month old son and my husband’s from Canada so we actually incorporated that into a trip to Canada because you’re nearly there. We stayed at the Sheraton which I don’t know if it still lives but you walk out of the foyer on to the sand and I remember saying to my husband, “Aren’t you proud of me for getting us here?” because we were staying in five-star luxury. So as a young couple with a new baby, that’s not something you would normally do.

[19:58] Jen: And you still remember that moment, these many years on? What did he say?

[20:01] Janice: Yes. Oh, I can’t remember what he said. [Laughs][20:05] Jen: It didn’t matter. You knew he was.

[20:06] Janice: I hope so, yes.

[20:08] Jen: There are lots of books and programs out there so people looking to grow themselves and their businesses, what would you consider a must have for other direct sellers?

[20:17] Janice: The book that had the most impact on me and still does and it’s a very old one but it stands the test of time is Think and Grow Rich and also, How to Win Friends and Influence People by, I think that’s by Dale Carnegie and the other one is Napoleon Hill.

[20:34] Jen: Do you have a mentor or someone that you look up to that helps you in your business? Maybe someone within your own team, maybe someone within the company or maybe somebody outside?

[20:43] Janice: I don’t really have one now, but I did. She unfortunately retired but for many years, I did. She was – I’d walk on water for her so I know – that’s why I know the importance of having your team’s trust and loyalty and respect because I know how I felt about that woman. And I wanted to do well just to please her, even though it was good for my business.

I no longer have her in the business, but I had her for many years and I have fellow people who work on the same level as me. One woman in particular that we do set probably once a week, about how our businesses are going and we’re at the same level, same longevity in the business and we sort of bounce off each other.

[21:31] Jen: What’s one thing that has you most excited about your business or this industry right now? Maybe it makes you smile or laugh when you think about it.

[21:40] Janice: Probably the one that’s exciting me at the moment is that probably in the last 12 months, because you’re bringing up your children, its the first time that I’ve been a lot freer to devote myself more to the business and given that my son’s leaving uni next year, I’ll be quite a bit better off each month so at that moment, I can earn some money that’s actually going to be mine. [laughs][22:07] Jen: I wonder when they’ll listen to this.

[22:09] Janice: I don’t know. The one thing I would like to say is that, having two sons, I just think that’s really important that they see their mother as a successful businesswoman and a strong independent person, and I definitely do. I think direct selling’s given them that. But something I’m excited about is I sort of continue to want to rebuild now. The technologies changed, and we’ve got Facebook, and we’ve got Twitter. I’m Skyping for the first time today. So, I think the introduction of fresh technology and the fact that one of my sons is actually doing digital marketing and media course so I’m looking forward to him helping me expand my business with his some talents.

[22:57] Jen: Well, you have to tune in and about – not long, we’ve got a podcast coming up about how to grow your business through the use of technology. So you have to tune to that one and have a listen.

[23:08] Janice: I will, most definitely. I mean, I can listen and he can show me how. [Laughs][23:13] Jen: Exactly. Well, thank you so much for being with us today, Janice. I really enjoyed your insights on doing your best. I particularly love your quote about, “If you still got fuel left in the tank, then you’re not doing your best.” I think that’s the takeaway for me from today. So thank you so much for that. I’ll definitely put my handbrake down.

[23:33] Janice: [Laughs] And let it off.

[23:34] Jen: I will. Thank you so much, Janice.

[23:37] Janice: Thank you, bye.

[23:39] Jen: Bye.

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