With a bakery ready to take on the orders, I could now begin planning the much awaited brand Ambassador Model. This was definitely an exciting part of my journey, make sure you have caught up on parts 1 & 2 of The Journey blogs so far and keep reading to see what happened next.
In a way this felt a little less intimidating as I had been trading this way for so long, and knew how the business worked. What I didn’t know was what an Ambassador would get, what exactly they would do and how much money they could make. That was before I could start advertising the opportunity and hope people were eager to join.
I had a meeting with Susan Ma, another one of Lord Sugar’s business partners to discuss how she created her Ambassador model. I made my way from my little bakery in West Wales to her gigantic factory in Croydon; I was instantly hit with excitement. This could be me in five years! I nervously knocked on the door and was let in by her accountant who alluded to how incredibly well they were doing. She too had gone from making up little batches of her product herself, selling at markets, to suddenly having loads of Ambassadors across the entire country selling Tropic Skin Care at pamper parties and to their friends and family. Susan arrived and whatever she puts in her products clearly works as she was glowing. We had an hour long chat; she explained honestly about the pit falls she had faced and where she had succeeded, the one thing that was glaringly obvious to me was that although she too has an ambassador led brand our two businesses would be worlds apart.
The meeting gave me huge motivation but above all a clear understanding that I couldn’t simply copy her model and replicate her success. I was going to have to make my own path and learn my own business along the way. The main thing I took away from that meeting was how much Susie cared about her Ambassadors. She knew that they were the key to her success and that when they did well she did too. She treated them like a very large extended family with the ones at the top like her sisters and best friends. This is one element I have taken and to be honest with you it’s impossible not to. You feel so incredibly blessed that people buy into you and believe in what you are doing enough to join the team.
I went on to develop the model with a lot of back and forth until I finally completed a plan of how everything would work along with our core values. The first round of recruitment was bizarre! A recruitment video was filmed with Climb Online (another of Lord Sugar’s businesses) and we had an overwhelming number of applications. I read through each one and finally whittled it down to 60 to interview. I then arranged three days of back to back interviews. Initially I planned one full day however in a board meeting with Lord Sugar my eyes were opened to how utterly ridiculous that was, to interview sixty people in one day! I remember someone said “that’s one person every 7 minutes” It’s funny how sometimes you miss such obvious things.
The interview dates were arranged and I honestly believe I was more nervous than the people I was interviewing. I didn’t know how to interview people, I didn’t know what I wanted to find out and I didn’t know who or what I was particularly looking for. On occasions, I felt like a complete fraud and having to remind myself why I was there as I still felt (and still do) like a market trader, an impostor in this new corporate world. A world now filled with unlimited complimentary coffee and biscuits while sat in lavish business rooms, when I was used to a flask of tea and biscuits on a freezing winter’s day, just to keep me warm on the market stall or to keep me awake after a 4am start.
One by one I interview each potential ambassador. Each person completely different and brought something new to the table. My interview tactic was a far cry from that of Claude Littner as I just desperately wanted to get to know everyone. I quickly realised that what I wanted was people I thought would get on really well with each other, work hard and enjoy it! From the first round of recruitment I was lucky enough to gain 18 shiny new Ambassadors that once trained, were off into their home towns selling our cake!
This entire process taught me so much in such a short space of time. How to interview, how to train, what is actually important for the success of the model and what aspects I would just have to let go of! I could promise they would make money, but I couldn't guarantee them the figures I had been making as a trader because everyone and every area is different, it taught me to realise that it would now be their businesses, and each one would be a little different. More importantly, it was the first time since winning the show I began to feel my confidence return. I knew my business, I loved my business, and I could help these Ambassadors love it too.
Since that first nerve-wracking few days of interviews, I have now held 3 recruitment drives for Ambassadors and the response every time has been overwhelming! We now have a fantastic team of over 50 Ambassadors all attending food events and helping wholesalers stock our products nationwide; we now even have an Ambassador in Scotland! We are constantly hearing from our Ambassadors about how excited they are for events and about how many friends they have made along the way. Some have created their own groups and meet up regularly, seeing this just melts my heart! We have had so many that started their Ambassador business along a full-time job, and have now been able to leave their full time job and just work for themselves. The amount of mums who have joined us who can now work around their family life, or couples who do this together and it has meant they can spend more quality time with each other; it's amazing. I desperately wanted my Ambassadors to enjoy the trader life and all the fun and flexibility that comes with it, I couldn't have wished for it to have gone any better, these Ambassadors are really like my extended family and I am so happy and lucky to have them all!