Back in January last year I posted Exciting News. After a bit of dithering and deciding, I’d signed up to become an Independent Consultant for Pampered Chef. Go me!
I really had little idea how well I’d do with it, but on the encouragement of a couple of friends – and my wife – I got some cooking shows booked up, completed my paperwork, and I was up and running.
(An aside: If you’re not familiar with Pampered Chef, it’s a cookware company that uses independent consultants to sell through home demonstrations. Bit like tupperware use to be, but so much better. I described the set-up pretty well in my post last year, so if you need to know more to make sense of this, go and read that one, then come back and join the rest of us here once you’ve caught up. We’ll wait.)
Well, fifteen months later, I’ve decided to hang up my apron and call it a day, so my Pampered Chef business has shut up shop. And a few folk have asked why.
Let’s start from the every beginning: how has my first experience of running my own business gone? Well, it started well; I’ll give it that. In fact, it started blooming marvellously. I had a whole bunch of cooking shows booked with with friends acting as hosts, and sales were buoyant. In fact, in my second month of trading, my name appeared in the back of the national Pampered Chef magazine as among the top ten sales for the country. Not bad. Not bad at all.
From Pampered Chef Consultant News, April 2011
But sales aren’t everything. The key to keeping momentum in a business like this isn’t getting good sales; it’s getting more parties booked. And that didn’t come so easily. At my initial block of parties, I’d tend to get one or maybe two bookings from each, which seems fine. I had the romantic idealised notion that as long as you get at least one party booked from each one you did, you’d be fine; business would be self-perpetuating. But the ‘second generation’ parties didn’t lead to so many bookings. And the ‘third generation’ very few. And so it simply dwindled. I tried to be a bit proactive from time to time. But it didn’t feel too long before business was just plodding along, and then dawdling along. People would ask how my business was going, and I’d answer :
it’s going about as well as the amount of effort I’m putting in to it.
And more recently I realised one of the reasons I’d stopped putting that much effort into booking parties was this: If I booked parties, I’d have to do them. Somewhere along the way, I’d actually stopped enjoying doing them.
And so now, I’ve stopped doing them altogether. My paperwork is all sorted; my tax records up to date; my spare kit bundled up ready to pass on to a fellow consultant. Oh, and my kitchen is full of fantastic products that I picked up along the way.
It was fun for a while. I’m glad I’ve done it.
PS: If you’re looking for a Pampered Chef consultant in the area now you can’t use me any more, I can do no better than point you in the direction of my friend Valerie, seeing as it was she who got me signed up in the first place. Her website is here.