Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dad expects me to do it

My father thinks I can. So, I'm going to keep trying.

He's my main investor, my dad, having given me a few thousand dollars in the form of a series of small loans during the past few months that I've tried to start my new insurance sales business. As a new businesswoman, I feel I owe it to my investors to follow through -- to do the best I can. And even though I'm forty-four years old, I still like making my dad proud.

This past month in my first year as a saleswoman has been especially difficult. I've had a few friends die. I had to put my beloved cat to sleep and I've never been though that with a pet before. People who I care about have been suffering quite a bit with emotional issues and physical ailments. My family has been increasingly concerned about my 80-year-old father.

On top of it all I've had technology issues. Many people who work for the company with which I am affiliated borrow computers from other agents during their first several months in business. Some do this for half a year or even longer. I've done it a bit but it hasn't felt right to me for a few reasons. I don't like borrowing expensive equipment. Computers are prone to breaking and acquiring viruses. What if someones computer breaks or gets a virus while I am borrowing it? I just haven't felt good about borrowing for this reason and a few others.

My dad has supported me in making technology investments that would eliminate my need to borrow equipment. But getting up and running independently with my own technology hasn't been as easy as I had expected. One agent was going to sell me a used system for $400 and I was looking forward to that. But the delivery date got pushed up and then the agent backed out of the deal. I ordered a system from an agent in California for $400 but it didn't include an item that would have been included in the first sale. And the unit I ordered got lost in the mail for two weeks. it arrived Thursday but required a special adapter cord to connect something to it. I took it to a used computer specialist for help. But he got it all messed up. Now I'll have to send it in for repair. It will cost $67 and take about five days for it to come back to me in the mail. In addition to the $67 repair, I'm going to have to spend another $175 on a more up-to-date item that interfaces with the unit.

It seemed like a major disaster on Friday. I was catastrophising. I couldn't imagine asking my dad for anymore money. To top it off, I was randomly offered another sales job from a man who I have done business with for several years and I wondered if I had received a series of signs to leave the company with which I am currently affiliated. The offer that was made to me is a very sweet deal but would require a bit of training. Several people have suggested I just go for it and put my current sales job on the back burner until I start making money with this new opportunity.

I hate quitting -- just hate it. I said some prayers on my way up north and planned to just keep mum about the catastrophe when I saw my father. I didn't want to worry him. I know he worries about me. My health is not what it was five years ago due to my Multiple Sclerosis and as dad creaks along in the twilight of his life I know he worries about what will become of me due to the fact that I am single, not quite settled into a career and dealing with a chronic illness. I have no savings. I'm starting to fall behind on bills. And the technology issues have waylayed my time in the field selling. It's not a happy situation and Friday I became a little bit frantic about what to do.

Although I was going up to see him this weekend -- and to see other family members, I hadn't planned on saying a word about the latest glitch in my selling career. But he brought it up in the car ride from his house to my sisters. He asked if I had finally received the $400 unit in the mail. I told him I had. And then I told him I had to send it back and that I had to buy something else for $175 to get it going and that I also had to pay $67 to have the unit repaired because the used computer guy had broken it.

My father owned his own businesses most of the years I was growing up. He's an independent cuss. When the builders he had hired to construct the home he designed for our family did a sloppy job, he fired them and finished the work himself. It took years. About a year of my childhood was spent with an Indian blanket for a bedroom door.

I grossly underestimated my father's ability to understand my situation. He was on board immediately with exactly enough funding and a listening ear. He said he is in total agreement with me about my need to have my own equipment and not to borrow from others. He also said he agrees with me one hundred percent with how I am building my business at this time. He likes the decisions I have made -- including the fact that I don't really like working with other agents very much for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is important to me to be perceived and respected as an equal in business and not as a trainee who needs to be supervised by someone who has technology that is adequate to get the job done. My decisions have not all been conventional. Many people in the company with which I am affiliated do things a little differently -- some do things quite differently.

But my dad likes the way I am doing things. Pretty much, my dear old dad wants me to get out there and kick some ass.

So I'm planning to. His support means a great deal to me.

It will be about a week before I have my technology issues resolved and I'm ready to write business with my own computer.

Meanwhile I'll be busy with some other endeavors. One thing I've decided to do is to canvass three days a week for the next few months with Clean Water Action. Being a sailor and having grown up on Lake Huron, I'm a HUGE advocate of protecting the Great Lakes Water Basin which holds more than 30 percent of the world's fresh water. I've canvassed for CWA in the past and I enjoy it this time of year and make pretty good money at it.

I'm going to give up Toastmasters for now (Sorry Kristin!!!) and get my groove on three evenings a week fundraising door-to-door for the bipartisan environmental lobby that wears out lots of shoes every year in an impressive effort to protect our wonderful Great Lakes Water Basin. It's actually very good sales experience and a great confidence builder.

As for the other sales opportunity that came my way -- I do plan on exploring it in the future -- once I get over these technology start-up bumps with my current organization. This new opportunity is something I can do for just a few hours a month or something I could spend more time on if I desire. I'll start with adding Clean Water Action to my portfolio of experiences (since it's tried and true and I can start Monday afternoon) and I'll consider taking on that other opportunity in the fall when the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder and canvassing isn't as appealing to me as it is this time of year.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that people tend to bump into the folks they need to find at random, so if you feel drawn to saving the lakes, go for it!