Liz Miedema – Worried you won’t sell anything? It happened to me.

Liz Miedema – Grand Valley State University

Liz Miedema finished 19th in the world her first summer in the Southwestern Internship after having 0 customers in week 1!

I learned so much that summer about myself and the power that I had within me to do things I didn’t think were possible. I gained confidence in myself and felt valued by the people I worked with. I discovered that it didn’t matter how much I sold or how I did, they loved me for being me! After my first summer I knew that I had to do it again. The second summer was even harder in some ways but I continued to learn so many new things. I didn’t sell books in the summer to sell books. I sold books to discover more about myself, discover my weaknesses and ways I can improve upon them. Southwestern has enabled me to learn about who I am and given me confidence to be myself — to know that I’m not average. It helped me realized that people like me for me, and I don’t need to change to make people like me. I worked with the coolest people in the world, who were supportive, and encouraged me in every aspect of my life. The money I made each summer came and went, but the character I developed, the amazing people I met, and the life lessons I learned are what distinguished this summer job apart from anything else I could’ve done. I truly believe Southwestern Advantage is the most life changing experience any college student could choose to do.
My whole life I had battled insecurities. If only I could be like her, or look like that. I always wondered why… I was always really hard on myself and felt like there was nothing really that special that stood out about me. I felt very average. College was an awakening for me, I worked my butt off to get good grades and make as much money as I could to pay for school but I still felt average. I first heard about the Southwestern Advantage program after my sister finished her first summer and came home with a $13,000 check. I was broke and knew I had to come up with some way to pay for college, so I thought I would give it a try. All she told me over and over was how hard it was, I figured yeah it might be hard, but I’ll get over it. 

My first day of the summer I followed my organization leader, Matt Seitz. I watched as he talked to families, had 5 sales, and I thought, “Nice. This is going to be easy.” Then I started on my own. I was so nervous I stumbled over my presentation, not letting the mom even talk. Matt was encouraging and told me I did a great job. I worked hard all day doing my best to see as many people as I could because I knew that my sister had told me if I just see as many people as I could I would do fine. The first week I worked as hard as I could and saw 250 people and made $0. No sales. Yup, that’s right –– NO SALES! ZERO DOLLARS! It was essentially costing me money to go door-to-door and be rejected. I remember worrying before the summer, “What if I travel that far, get out there, and don’t sell a single thing…” My fear had become my reality.

I remember going to the weekly team meeting and hearing about how ALL the other rookies had at least a handful of customers, and I all I could think was, “What’s wrong with me?” This didn’t feel like it was for me and I wanted to give up. I talked with a student manager Katie that day. The conversation consisted mostly of me crying as we drove to a restaurant because I didn’t understand why I was failing so badly. Why was I working so hard but no one was buying from me? She told me it would get better because I would get better, and that the next week was going to be challenging again, but I would see myself improve. She encouraged me not to be short-sighted, that my present situation was not a permanent situation.
I approached my second week with hopes that it would be better than the previous one. The first week was defiantly the most challenging week I have ever experienced in my life. There were many times I wondered why I was doing this, comparing myself to my sister, wondering how in the world did my she make so much money at this vs me. But, I had committed to my sister that I wouldn’t quit so I knew that I would have to stick it out and pray that it got better. It did get better.
The second week I made $625. I decided I would just keep controlling the controllables, working as hard as I could and maybe I could do this. So the third week I made $1,250 and the fourth week I made $2,125 and finished the second in the company for first year salespeople that week! I finished that summer and made $16,000 and finished as the 19th top first year salesman in the world. There was nothing magical to it, it was simply persistence. I believed that my sister and my sales manager wouldn’t let me down. I would work the hours and see the families each day, and I knew that it just like any skill I would only improve. My manager would remind me through the summer it is not how you start it is how you finish. I may not have been very good at sales, but I worked hard to compensate for that.
Southwestern AdvantageLiz Miedema – Worried you won’t sell anything? It happened to me.

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