Thursday, 31 October 2013
An Unexpected Journey - my season as a Thermomix Consultant
Given that my first response to the Thermomix (based on a picture and the price tag) was 'That's immoral", there's going to be an interesting story to my decision to start selling them!! And a curious journey it has been. Some things have been expected (like trying to swallow massive slabs of humble pie) and many other things have been unexpected, like opening new doors, discovering my passions and growing me in areas that needed to be pruned.
The key to the story was my mother in law, who had seen it in action and thought this would be a life changer for us. An enormous gift she thought would be a wonderful change she could make in our lives. I was pityingly sceptical and (barely politely) turned down the offer.
After 5 months, some arm bending, and an interstate visit from my in-laws, we had a lovely and straightforward woman (Julie Ann Allen) come and put us through the Thermomix paces. Not before I had given her some scornful "no thanks, I don't do party plans". I had hated feeling pressured to buy over-priced items that I could live without and didn't want to put my friends through any such experience. I was suspicious but relieved when I found out about the straightforward structure of the demonstration.
That soon gave way to excitement and amazement. My husband and I could see this would be a worthwhile investment, and thanked my kind parents-in-law and decided to pay half ourselves. It wasn't a stupid move. That half we paid was re-paid in grocery savings in 9 months, and I was keen to see people I loved helped like I had been. I had been given fun and time back in the kitchen.
My physiotherapy work was proving a little tricky to dovetail around my husband's commitments and the family needs, and my sister in law had turned my world up-side down by starting with Thermomix and having a ball, so I took the plunge and committed to do what I had criticised others for doing; started a direct selling business. (My sister-in-law and I are pictured above when I had just qualified).
Part of me still cringes at the phrase because of the connotations it brings up, including my rudeness. My first three months I kept looking for the 'evil' in the business. I was waiting for the 'ah-ha, I was duped, they are all monsters'. Instead, I got work. Hard work. Loads of training, support, some wins and losses, encouraging managers and group leaders and lots and lots of fun, creative people. The support has been amazing. My group leader has been generous, my branch managers incredibly encouraging. I have had a very fun team to play with and create yummy food.
Much of the last eighteen months has mostly been about meeting gorgeous folks I would have never had the chance to get to know and reconnecting with family. Some I still regularly pray for as I have discovered the struggles in their lives. I hope that the Thermomix would be some practical help as it has been for me. I have made some life changing cyber acquaintances as well, as the indomitable Leonie of ThermoFun and I discovered a shared passion for perfect recipes and life's hard twists and turns.
It's also been about having my preconceptions challenged. I have come to discover a whole world of brave folks setting up direct selling businesses of great products in order to work around family needs. I now own a lot of Norwex and some Mary Kay, and find them well worth their price tag!
It's been about extreme time management as I have tried to juggle ongoing therapy needs for my fourth child, some learning challenges for my first, lots of involvement in our church and college community and my husband's many commitments. I am much better at working out how to make things all fit, and also, know when there is just too much to fit.
The Thermomix experience has definitely opened doors for me. The small business training has been very good with an excellent focus on customer care. Information that my physiotherapy degree sorely lacked. On the horizon for me are small business opportunities that I would have never had the courage or knowledge to take, but have now I'm looking forward to. And that's because it has helped me realise my passions. Like seeing children confident and excited about the healthy food they can prepare!
However, more than anything else, the "Thermomix Consultant journey" has been about some much needed growth. And not just my 'direct selling' generalisations and rudeness. I was quickly shocked by how vulnerable I felt at presentations. I was used to instant respect and desire for my services as a physiotherapist. It was a scary feeling to be 'needing' people's business and starting skills training all over again. I had to face up to my pride and my judgementalism and decide that if I knew how good the Thermomix was, it didn't matter what other people were possibly saying or thinking, I just needed to get on with providing an excellent and helpful service. And the growth has been ongoing as I have faced tricky situations that brought out my fearfulness and had professionalism and generosity modelled to me by my group leader.
And I have to stop and say what an incredible support my group leader, Fleur Cole, has been. Riding the waves with me as I tried to fit everything in, she has been generous every step of the way. Over 12 months, I realised that I needed more than 20 hours per week to make my Thermomix business really effective, and just for this season, I can only invest 4-8 hours per week in work. Seeing this, my group leader has opened doors for me as a Thermomix Ambassador to continue sharing my passion for helping others cook well and enjoy their Thermomix, at a pace that suits my family. I look forward to continuing to develop recipes for those on the FAILSAFE diet (and hopefully a cookbook), and inspiring many.
So that's it. No bogey men. Just lots of support, learning and precious people. I'm very thankful for it all!