What is it about this industry that catches folk, pulls them in and never lets them go? Could it be love? I know many people who have taken "sabbaticals" from this crazy business but they always come back. Some go to work for a family business or accept an offer too good to refuse and then, a year or two later, there they are—at the Expo, at a regional show—on one side of the aisle or the other.
I call this industry the Hotel California. "You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave." Why is that? Is it love?
Relationships are a big part of it. We tend to develop deep friendships or at least fairly intense acquaintances. Some relationships run deep, others wide, but many of them long. One of the longest relationships in my life outside of family is a friendship with another distributor from another part of the country. Maybe itʼs because we find people we can share our challenges with who actually understand. We learn together. We share experiences together. Business partners abound in this business and we all need to have each otherʼs back.
Creativity is often mentioned as this industry allows us a high degree of self-expression and releases our inner artist. There is no shortage of creativity demonstrated as humor either. Some of the funniest people work in this industry and you can take the word "funny" any way you want! We innovate. We create demand. We create results.
Freedom to work hard or hardly work. Freedom to choose hours and clients and business partners. We are an independent lot. We love our ability to choose who, when, where, how and why we work. Weʼre free to choose a niche market. Free to work online. Free to allow our work to be an expression of who we are. Freedom to comment and add your reasons to this blog below.
Jim Collins, in his seminal book "Good to Great," describes a hedgehog concept as a sweetspot that facilitates greatness. The hedgehog concept is the convergence of what you are passionate about, what you can be best in the world at, and that you can make money doing it. I think for many of us, that describes this business. I love it when I see someone get passionate not just over a writing instrument or a calendar or any of our number of things but genuinely excited about what it can do for a business or a life.
Yup. It must be love.