I’m thrilled to share episode #2 of my new Virtual Biz Chats series!
(Did you miss the first episode? Go check it out here.)
Today I get to introduce you to my buddy Bonnie Cribbs. Because I run a virtual social commerce business, I tend to meet a lot of people online…and that’s exactly how I stumbled across Bonnie. We had an instant friendship.
Little did we realize at the time we lived just a few miles from each other in beautiful Franklin, TN. (Although he’s since moved off to a neighborhood that’s walking distance from Disney World – how fun?!)
Check out our interview below to hear more about how and why he launched his virtual business…and how it’s positively impacted his life in a number of ways.
(Can’t watch the video? I’ve conveniently transcribed our interview for you below.)
I hope you enjoy episode #2 of my Virtual Biz Chats!
Krista: Welcome everyone I’m super stoked to be doing a quick hang out with my buddy Bonnie Cribbs. We have known each other for, I don’t even know how long now. I know it was very shortly after I started my virtual business and we’ve both been in the virtual business world, the direct selling industry for several years now and bonnie is just one of those people that…from the minute i discovered him, we were immediate online friends. I just remember when we finally connected in person offline, it was like we’d known each other forever, so I’m really excited Bonnie to have you here and I want to be sure the video is still working. Are you still there with me?
Bonnie: I’m still here, yes. I’m totally honored Krista. It’s so funny because I remember seeing a video of yours well before we ever met and I was like, “I like her so much. She’s got such incredible energy.” And the hair, you know it was hair envy, by all means. You just had the cutest hair and everything, but I was just like this girl knows what she’s doing. She’s got it going on and I need to meet her, so it was crazy that we ended up living just a couple miles apart. I would have never have known that. It was really cool. So honored to be here. Thank you for asking.
Krista: Absolutely. I’m super excited for us to share your story and just talk about some of your best practices. Why you decided to start a virtual business, a little bit about your background and how it impacted your life and your your favorite thing about what you do and what we get to do as virtual business owners, so I’m going to dive right in. Bonnie, tell our viewers a little bit about your background and your story and what compelled you to start your business online.
Bonnie: Okay, I’d love to and I’ll just warn you up front. I tend to speak a lot and talk a lot and ramble so if I start doing that, just blink your eyes is that me so I’ll tone it down. Okay, so I was in corporate America, working for the same company for 24 years so I started with when I was in college and I ended up starting out doing nothing, just being the intern of the office and made my way all the way up to Vice President of Sales and Marketing and so I worked with them the entire time. Many businesses use web design companies to improve their strategy for growth. When you hear about job security, I thought I had all the job security in the world. The family that owned the company, they called me family, considered me family and I was always exceeding their expectations, exceeding my quotas, exceeding my sales goals and so I just thought, I’ve got all the job security in the world and after 24 years the the owner’s son came in and just decided it’s time to shake things up a little bit. He got rid of me and another Vice President and then another Vice President left in a couple weeks after that. It was a major shake-up and at that point in life, I was like what can I do? This is the only thing that I know how to do.
It was just internal turmoil because I wasn’t expecting that. I’d never made any plans for anything else. It was just 100-percent dependent on him. So me and another one of the Vice Presidents, we started growing business doing the same thing. I just jumped into something that had always done and in the process, I invested pretty much my life savings and so did the other Vice President and quickly we started just filing away and I quickly saw that I was working 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I mean I was working all the time. Simultaneously I was seeing my friends who were in direct sales and I was like they just went to Mexico for two weeks. They got back from Mexico and they went to Italy for two weeks, and here I am busting my butt. They’ve only been doing this for a couple years and here I am busting my butt and from from everything that was going on, I knew that with every customer that I obtained, which I had to have customers in order to earn some money back, with every customer I obtained, it was then costing me about 15-20 minutes more a month, so every customer involved time and I just thought, this is gonna be nonstop. I mean there’s not an end to this, and and I knew I had to get a lot of customers back to to maintain that lifestyle that I was accustomed to, so for years people have been approaching me about different direct sales and different network marketing companies and I just never had any interest in it, because I thought I had all the job security in the world. So finally I just started remembering some of those conversations and I thought I at least need to invest into this and investigate into this.
So when I talked with the person, the investment to start that business was less than what I’d paid a graphic design artist that day for graphics for our website. So I thought this is a no-brainer definitely. I’m not out much. I had so many friends that were making lots and lots of money. Personal friends, long-term friends, so I was like if they can do it, I can do it too. But that’s kinda how I got into it. When I had to look at my time, you know, here I was in my mid-forties starting a new career and I was like okay it took me 24 years to get to this point over here. How long is it going to take to grow another business? I just started weighing the options and that option looked a whole lot better. I still have that traditional business, I’ve got ownership of it. I’m not working it, but I’m doing the network marketing thing now. So that’s kind of how i got into it. More than you bargained for, wasn’t it?
Krista: I love it! I love your passion and energy, Bonnie. I always have! One of the reasons I think I’m just always so attracted to you and enjoy being around you and love the great content and information you put out is because you just exude energy and passion for what you do, so I love it! Thank you for sharing your background.
Bonnie: I do love life, so that’s good.
Krista: Yes, that’s why we get along so well! We’re kindred spirits. So you decided to start a virtual business, a direct selling business. Tell us a little bit about what obstacles you had to overcome to build your business to get it off the ground and to get it where it is today.
Bonnie: Man, that’s that’s such a loaded question because I do believe everybody that comes into this business comes in from a different place, so I’m just gonna shoot straight with you with what my obstacles were. The biggest one, I was Vice President. I was at the top of my company and it was incredibly humbling coming in, number one, not knowing what the heck I was doing. I didn’t have a clue, but yet I was conceited enough and had the audacity to think I knew it I knew everything. I was like I’ve been in marketing. This is network marketing. Marketing is marketing and so I thought I can do, I can apply what I knew in the corporate world the sales world and put it over in network marketing and I can rock this thing. The way they’re doing it is just stupid. It’s just silly. I was really humbled by that after a while because typical marketing doesn’t work. Typical sales, it’s not sales, it is a relationship business and it took a lot for me to look myself in the mirror and realize you don’t have a clue about what you’re doing and what you learned in sales does not really apply to this business.
It’s not selling. You know, we are selling something, but it’s not sales. You can take all the sales training in the world, but when it comes to this network marketing stuff you’re simply sharing. You’re simply sorting. You’re just sharing and seeing if people are open to it and exposing people to what is there. It was tough for me to admit that I didn’t know what I was doing. Internally that was incredibly overwhelming because I’m like, “Oh I’m at the bottom again.” You know, I’m not Vice President anymore.
I’m starting this with a team of zero. This is what I realized, so this is when the passion kicked in. I talked to the people who were at the top and this is what I realized. They have the same compensation package as me. I talked to them. They have the same training program as me. We also have the same product and the same opportunity, so this person that was up here at the top. They started where I did. We have exactly the same opportunity and again I knew my friends and was like if they can do it, I can do it. So you know once that kicked in I was like let’s go, I’ve got this. I had to figure things out, but those were… it was my lack of being coachable, my lack of being willing to be told “this is the way you need to do it,” but it went against everything that I learned in corporate America.
Those were probably the biggest challenges is just my mental mindset. My own stupidity.
Krista: I think so many of us can relate to that Bonnie. I always tell people when people ask me the same question, I say, well you know it really doesn’t matter what your skill level is, your education level is, your background is your experience is, it really levels the playing field across all industries, across all ages and backgrounds, etc. It is the biggest crash course in personal development that you will ever have and it really is about being coachable and it’s not about being Susie Salesperson. It is funny because a lot of people that is one of the most consistent responses I will hear is “Sales just isn’t for me. I’m not a salesperson.” And it’s like well, actually that’s great because we’re not looking for salespeople. We’re looking for people who can build relationships and be real and relatable to others.
Bonnie: Yeah, it’s interesting because in this business I know people who are doctors that have done incredibly well with this. I know other people who are convicts who have spent time in jail who have done well with this industry. I know people who are nurses and I mean you can take every kind of personality, nationality, you name it, there are people who have succeeded. Every education level. It’s amazing to me how many people that I’ve talked to that’s never graduated from high school that are out there crushing it. That’s another thing, there are 18 and 19 year olds are making it. That’s another one of those things that it’s taken me some adjustment to get to. Okay, this person has been in it for two years, they’re dang 20 years old and they’re making more than I was after 20 years in corporate America. That’s a humbling thing, but it also tells me I’m on the right path. I’m not trying to build another corporate job that will take another 20 years to get to the top.
Krista: It really does illustrate the power of the industry and the business itself. So tell us what has been the most rewarding part of your business.
Bonnie: You know I was telling someone the other day and I don’t know that I’ve really got the explanation for it, but I loved my job. I really was one of those that loved my job and I thought it was good. It was fulfilling. I’d done well for myself. I was proud, but there’s something about this and going through the hard times. Going through the struggle that has made this the most invigorating thing I’ve ever done in my life. Financially it’s tough to know from week to week where you’re gonna go at the beginning because you’re working so dang hard and you’re getting very little. And then all of a sudden it starts flipping on you at some point and you’re like I’m not working that hard and now the pay’s better.
There’s something about making it through that process that has been the most invigorating thing. It’s not the money. I do think it’s just that growth that I did something that is totally out of my comfort zone, out of my skill level, out of my know-how and I’ve pushed through it. It’s just been so incredibly invigorating. I guess that’s rewarding. I don’t want to call it fun, but dang it’s been tough. But I think anybody that pushes through, it’s like this…we have great goals. I know you’ve got big goals and we can’t expect to accomplish great things unless we’re going to go through some pretty big struggles and go through some big obstacles. I think when you start making it through some of those you start feeling like “yeah I persevered. I stuck with it.” Because you do see so many people quit.
You see so many stop and in the end they’re like it’s just not worth it. They don’t know it’s not worth it because they’ve not going through it, you know.
Every person that I’ve talked to in the top ranks of so many companies. All of them had told me that it’s going to be tough, but it’s gonna be worth it. I’ve had people in at least 20 different companies tell me that. For them to say that across the board, that just gave me the power to stick with it. I don’t know if that answered your question or not.
Krista: No, it totally did. Just like you were saying, I can completely relate. We all can in this industry. You start at zero. You have no team, no customers, you’ve made a little investment, so you know certainly when you first start, you’re at zero, if not maybe a little bit in the negative, because all of these companies are going to have some type of startup fee associated with them. Certainly you start off at zero, and then even just in that first month to recoup that investment and in your first couple of months, to see that as you start to acquire new clients and as you start to work with people and build a team, and you start to see “okay, well my investment has been paid back,” and now you know “whoa, I just actually doubled my income from the previous month.” And then watching that multiply and just knowing that it’s through your hard work and through your teamwork that those things are happening. It’s a beautiful beautiful thing. We always say that this business works, it’s whether or not YOU will work it. I think that’s where so many people who DO quit…I talked to a lot of people who don’t work it and then I realized, okay I need to distance myself from those people and be around the people who are positive and who ARE working it and who have similar mindsets as myself because we’re the ones who are really changing the face of this industry and inspiring other people.
What would you say is the you know top one or two things that hold people back from starting a virtual business and what piece of advice would you give them to overcome that?
Bonnie: I think there’s a couple things. The first thing is not understanding what residual income is. I mean it just really does sound too good to be true that you sell something once and you’re building product sales with that and then you get paid for it over and over. Most people are accustomed to going into work where they make $15 an hour, but as soon as they leave work, the $15 an hour stops and so I think a lack of understanding for true residual income is one of those things that people just don’t get. Of course you’re in Nashville where so much of the city is built around residual income. There’s a lot of understanding there around residual income, but the other thing is I just don’t believe people think they’ve got it in them. I think this world is so…go to work, come home, watch a little bit of TV, go to bed, wake up, go to work… and I just think we’re so into a routine that people don’t realize there’s a better life out there. I think people don’t believe that they’re worthy of that. That its something they can have. They think it’s for the chosen or for these other people. When in reality, if they have a dream…God’s not going to give us a dream if he’s not going to equip us. He’s not going to give it to us…but he’s going to equip us where we can achieve it. People are so into routines and “I don’t want to mess this up.” I’ve got this routine. I don’t have time. That’s why people say I don’t have time to do it, is because of their routine. You can shift a little bit of time. It doesn’t take much. I think people just don’t think out-of-the-box that much. The biggest thing is that people just don’t think they’re worthy, that it’s not something they can accomplish. I could keep on going. I think there’s a lot of reasons.
You know, when people tell you they don’t have the money…that’s just so stupid. I was just talking to a lady today and she was talking about how broke she was. And she was like, “hey, hold on for a second.” And she ran into Walgreen’s and came out with a pack of cigarettes. And no judgment there, I’m just saying you find money for what you want to do. And it’s saying, I don’t have money, and then the next week they’re on vacation and they’re somewhere else. We can we can find the money, we can find the time if we’ve got a passion that’s in us. But it’s like this, if you don’t have a passion to better yourself, don’t do it because if there’s not a passion there you’re not gonna make it.
Krista: I always say people make time for what they want to make time for. The beauty of having your own business and especially for us doing it online is this is a 15-minute window business. I build my business in 15-minute increments. Whether it’s on a call on the way into the office or maybe taking 30 minutes during my lunch break to do a quick training with a team member or making a couple of follow-up calls, and then certainly in the evenings on my drive home. You know I usually have a 30 to 40-minute drive just depending on what’s going on when I’m leaving the office. I’m a captive audience in my car. That truly is where I do so much of my work and even it’s hard for me to call it work because I know you feel the same way with a lot of your team members…is we’re all friends. We actually have a really great time. Very rarely does it ever feel like work. I feel like I’m just spending time with family and friends. I think people have the stigma that “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money.” I feel like people have this misperception that we do this you know like a job that we’re punching and punching out you know for 20 hours here 15 hours there and that’s just not the reality. It’s maybe five or ten minutes before I go to bed and like I said 30 minutes during lunchtime or maybe an hour in the morning before I have breakfast, getting up a little earlier and doing a couple of things. Even on the weekends, finding ways to weave in family time.
Bonnie: So I just moved down to Orlando, Florida and one of the things that I’ve realized here is they have the world’s longest stoplights. So the first several days here I was getting so frustrated at these long stoplights. I mean there’s so much traffic and everything. So I thought about it and said you know it’s frustrating some of these lights are literally lasting for 4 or 5 minutes. I said I can use that 4-5 minutes to text a couple of people. So that’s my new rule. That if I get to the stoplight and I know that it’s one that’s 4-5 minutes, I’m gonna text at least two people and this is the coolest thing. As soon as the light turns green, the people behind me start honking, they let me know it’s time to go!
Krista: That’s great! We’re all about maximizing our time and resources, right?!
Bonnie: No driving and texting.
Krista: True! I’m completely with you and even being on the phone. I always have my little earpiece in because both hands need to be on the wheel. So tell us what your top three tips would be for someone who is looking at starting a direct sales business.
Bonnie: Okay, if it’s something they’re considering, there’s probably a reason that they want to do it. Is it financial freedom. Is it time freedom? Just ask yourself this simple question. If you’re looking for time freedom or financial freedom, if it’s not this, what are you going to do? If it’s going to get another job that’s ok if it’s just the money, but that’s not answering the time freedom. I’m just saying anyone can succeed in this. Any demographic, any age, boy or girl. Everybody can succeed, so look at the reason that you’re doing it yourself. If not this, what is as good as an opportunity? And I don’t believe you’re gonna find anything equally as well. I started a traditional business. It’s cost me my entire life savings to do it and sooner or later we’re going to be profitable. There’s not that risk with this. It’s the lowest form of investment that you can go. If they’re considering this, I would say what’s the real cost? I mean really and truly, if you’ve got to invest $500 or $1000 into it, the return on investment is greater. Most network marketing companies you’re going to get your investment back within the first or second month. I’m just telling you from someone that’s invested in a traditional business, that is not the case. You’re in the positive cash flow 1-2 months out. That’s a good thing. It’s so little risk that’s there. If you’re considering it and you make that jump, I just want to say…stick with it. Nobody in this industry fails except for those two quit. If you stick with it, If you share this opportunity, you’re gonna make it, you just have to share it. A lot of what we do doesn’t come natural. I remember the first time I rode a bike, I failed. The first time I went swimming, I sank. It took a little time to do some stuff. After a while, I was riding a bike and I was swimming. Same thing with this. You do something a couple of times. Don’t let the fear of what you’re doing stop you.
Krista: Absolutely. I think so many people are afraid of failure. You see so many quotes out there from Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. I can’t remember specifically one off the top of my head, but they failed their way to success. That’s just a part of learning and I know that’s something, especially when I first started my business, I struggled with perfectionism and even still to this day. It’s something I’m continually overcoming. I’ve realized that’s just reality. Life is not perfect and so me trying to say the right thing do the right thing just exactly right…that fear of how do I sound? Eventually you just have to say it. It’s amazing when you just overcome that fear and just have the faith that you have everything that it takes. That you were created for a purpose, you have everything in you that you need to succeed. It’s about just sharing the message and relating with people and caring for people. It’s amazing what can happen. My own personal story I can certainly relate to that.
Bonnie: I think those people want something more. There’s something innate in us that wants more. I think when that dream is in us we’re just taught not to dream big.
I’ve got a sad story. I was on the boat over at Disney World going from Hollywood Studios over to Epcot and there was this little girl she was dressed as a princess, cute as can be and her mom was there. We were on the back of the boat so we were seeing all the beautiful scenery and this little girl was just soaking it all in. Loving it. Her eyes were just as big as everything. And we get up to the hotel called Swan and Dolphin and it’s very visually stimulating. Beautiful grounds and everything. The little girl she’s just “Momma, look at that! It’s so beautiful!” And her mom said, “Honey, you’ll never be able to stay in a place like that.” And I mean the little girl’s five or six. And that mom…that is just a horrible thing to say to a kid. She didn’t say “We’ll never be able to afford to stay there.” She said “You’ll never be able to afford to stay there.”
From a little age we have these dreams and we see things and we get excited about life, but even at that age, people start just stomping them. “You won’t be able to do that.” “You can’t do this.” “You’re not smart enough.” “You’re not good looking and not pretty enough.” Or not whatever. And this mom telling her kid you’ll never be able to afford that. It’s so much crap being brought into our heads from such a little age and so when we have these desires for wanting more out of life, we just hear those voices. We just hear those questions. And i think one of the messages that I just am so passionate about sharing is, if you’ve got that dream, you’ve got the desire for more I am just completely convinced that God is giving you that dream. God is giving you that vision of what you want to accomplish. He’s not going to give you these images of what you want to accomplish unless you’re able to make it happen. If they’re in accordance with the way he is with the way he gives, with his ways, he’s going to equip you to achieve it.
So you have to have faith in you and you have to have faith in your dreams that you are able to make it happen.
There’s an incredible book out there called “The Dream Giver.” It’s all about hearing those voices, listening to those things, realizing who those are coming from and that if they’re in you, you’re going to be able to do it. Is it going to be hard? It may be hard, you know anything worthwhile is going to be a little bit of a challenge. But you’re cheating yourself, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t go forward with your dreams.
Krista: I love that. I’m so glad you shared that story. It just breaks my heart because being 5 years old and having a parent say that to you? I’m very fortunate that thankfully my parents did always tell me they believed in me, that I could do…at some point they probably told me I could be President if I wanted, but I did have that support in my life, but I think this business…what I love about my virtual business is that we can find those people who maybe had an experience like that five-year-old girl and we can show them a way to restore hope and say, “You know what, that is not true. Whatever what the mind can believe, the mind can achieve. You have what it takes. Man, I hate that somebody said that you couldn’t, but here is a vehicle that can get you there, you’ve just got to believe it and you’ve got to embrace it and and run with it. Nobody can ever do it for you, but it is possible. That is probably my favorite part about this business, because I think the world is just full of people whose dreams have been diminished. They feel hopeless and this truly is a way that we can bring hope back into the world.
Bonnie: Yeh. No kidding. No kidding.
Krista: Well, Bonnie I always love catching up with you and just talking shop. I so appreciate you jumping on here with us. Do you have any parting words before we close? And I do want to be sure you tell everybody where they can find you online, but before we do that, any other words of wisdom before we wrap?
Bonnie: You know I’m just going to say this. I’m so happy that I found this profession. This way of life, this virtual deal, because I love being able to drive down the road and talk with people and earn a living. I love being able to help people. I only live three miles from Disney. I love being at Disney and knowing that I’ve got an appointment in 30 minutes and just being able to step away and then get back to it. There’s so much freedom in that. But I’m not a chosen one, I’m not anything special. I’m just like millions of other people who are doing this. I would just say if you’re thinking about it, you just need to jump in because it’s a good thing. It’s worth it. It’s not that scary. But be coachable. Thank you. I so much appreciate you having me to be here tonight. I’m honored. I do miss you like crazy, though. It’s good seeing you again.
Krista: I miss you too! And who knows, maybe we’ll do this again! I feel like every time I’m around you I always have questions and ideas and love brainstorming with you, so maybe we’ll do another video in the future about another specific topic within the virtual business world.
Bonnie: I’d love it!
Krista: Bonnie, tell everybody where they can find you online.
Bonnie: You know what, if you’ll get on Facebook and you put in Bonnie Cribbs, you’ll find me. I’m the only guy there that you’ll find named Bonnie Cribbs. If you can’t find me there, put in THE Bonnie Cribbs and that’s my business page. If you connect with me on Facebook or my blog BonnieCribbs.com, it’s got all the social media links as well.
Krista: Excellent! Well, Bonnie so appreciate your time this evening and really value all of the wisdom and experience you bring to the table. We so appreciate you taking time for us today to just share your story and empower others and inspire others with your story and with your business, so thank you for that. Guys, go follow Bonnie online. Very much like me, he and I both are on pretty much every social media channel, so make sure you go find him on Twitter and Instagram and Youtube, and certainly his blog is a good hub to get connected with all of those. If you’re finding this on Youtube or Facebook, make sure to go check out my other social media channels as well. Like I mentioned, both Bonnie and I are everywhere online, so come find us. I will tell you, he truly is one of the most inspiring people I know, so you will not be disappointed if you go follow him online. It’s the perfect way to start your day jumping on Facebook and seeing his happy pictures at Disney and his great quotes.
Bonnie: Awe, I just want to hug you! I wish it was possible…
Krista: Awe, virtual hugs!
Bonnie: It’s so good seeing you, Krista.
Krista: You too, Bonnie! Everybody, have a great day and we’ll see you on the next video! Bye!
Bonnie: See ya!
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To your success,
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