This week on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we’re continuing our review of 2023 planning ahead for 2024 by chatting with even more amazing leaders and Modern Direct Seller Academy members: Melanie Racer, Sarah Rieck, Kim DiCioccio and Dena Gregory. They’re here to authentically share not only where they’ve seen success, but also where they’ve needed to pivot and recalibrate, and how they plan to carry that growth forward into the new year. Listen in and let these industry experts inspire you!

Connect with our guests!
Melanie Racer:
Sarah Rieck:
Kim DiCioccio:
Dena Gregory:

Time based notes:

  • 1:45 Melanie Racer introduction
  • 2:22 Sarah Rieck introduction
  • 3:24 Kim DiCioccio introduction
  • 4:59 Dena Gregory introduction
  • 7:02 Melanie’s 2023 and 2024
  • 10:26 Sarah’s 2023 and 2024
  • 13:04 Kim’s 2023 and 2024
  • 16:52 Dena’s 2023 and 2024
  • 21:16 Melanie’s favorite supplies and final tips
  • 23:05 Sarah’s favorite supplies and final tips
  • 25:29 Kim’s favorite supplies and final tips
  • 28:44 Dena’s favorite supplies and final tips


Industry Experts and Their Advice for 2024

Recently on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we continued our review of 2023 and planned ahead for 2024 by chatting with even more amazing leaders and Modern Direct Seller Academy members: Melanie Racer, Sarah Rieck, Kim DiCioccio and Dena Gregory. They’re here to authentically share not only where they’ve seen success, but also where they’ve needed to pivot and recalibrate, and how they plan to carry that growth forward into the new year.


Let’s just jump into some quick introductions as we get started. Melanie, you want to kick us off?

Melanie Racer: My name is Melanie Racer, and I have been a Norwex sales consultant for almost nine years; it’ll be my nine-year anniversary in January. And, I live in Minnesota with my husband and my four kiddos—twins age 7, 10, and 13. So, we are in the thick of running to basketball, lacrosse, gymnastics, church events, and I love that I can make that work with my business.

Sarah Rieck: I am Sarah. I am with Epicure, from small-town central Wisconsin. I have three kiddos. They are 7, 5 and 3. I am married to a teacher, a varsity football coach, and a varsity baseball coach. I also worked full time in healthcare quality. So, Lord knows that I need Epicure, and I need healthy, fast, easy meals. I started with Epicure in 2020, quickly flew through the ranks, and I think, like a lot of people, 2022, 2023, we kind of, you know, hit a wall. Had many, many pivots. Which, brings me here today!

Kim DiCioccio: I will have been with Tastefully Simple for 21 years in January. Very part-time when I started. Very part-time, actually, from 2003 to February of 2020. And then, of course, COVID hit, and we tripled everything, double promoted, and had to really work the business full-time, even though I was working full-time. So now, fast-forward to a couple of months ago, I retired from my full-time gig, and now get to focus on this 100%. So, it is the year of, you know, just figuring it out and rebuilding and getting my team to build a team.

Dena Gregory: I’m Dena Gregory with Lemongrass Spa. And, I’ve been with them for three years. And, this first time I’ve ever done direct sales. I love this industry. It’s been amazing for me. I used to manage a Bath & Body Works. So, of course, the transition to spa products was pretty easy for me. And, I also used to manage the pharmacies before I had my two kiddos. So, I’m an older mom. I have a 4 year old and I have an 18 month old. And so, I feel super, super blessed to be able to stay at home with them. You know, my husband is like, “You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to do this.” But, I felt like I just still wanted to contribute to the family a little bit, as well as have adult conversations throughout the day sometimes, so I just feel super blessed.


Well, let’s talk about this year. I think many of us would agree, across the industry, that this looked a lot different than pre-COVID. It looked different than the 2020, the 2021. I mean, we’re still seeing lots of pivots and lots of changes and adapting and shifting and doing all of those things that I think sometimes we don’t talk about publicly, because it’s not easy. And, it can be really challenging to kind of figure out where you fit into your company and to the industry and how you’re supporting your team. So, I’d love to hear something that you’re really proud of that you’ve accomplished in 2023, or even just kind of a year-end review of what 2023 looked like for you. And then, I might as well ask about 2024, also, to keep the conversation flowing here.

Melanie Racer: So, for 2023, the thing I’m most proud of is sticking with it and consistently showing up. This is year eight in my business, and it’s a year where things just didn’t come as easy as they have been coming. And, it could have been easy for me to give up. But, because I’m so passionate about what I sell, and because of the people I’ve met through my company, giving up wasn’t really on my radar. But, I felt like my business took some steps back instead of steps forward. I remember being at conference in January last year thinking, “I want to be in a different place when I come in 2024.” And, I’m not going to be. I’m going to be in pretty much the same place. But, because I stuck with it, and I showed up, I’m not showing up at a lesser title or with fewer sales.

What I did, though, was I started to get uncomfortable again, kind of like a new recruit. I started doing asks like I haven’t done before for parties, and creating conversations in ways that I hadn’t done before with 3 + 3 + 3s, and utilizing these ways that I know I should have always been using, but I was holding myself back and getting in my own way. And then, when I did that—when I showed up and I did an uncomfortable ask—even if I got a “no,” I would share that with my team so that they would see, “You get a lot of ‘no’s’ in the ‘yes’s,’ and it doesn’t have to be icky.”

I also rebranded my team this year; that was one of the things. I joined Becky’s VIP group, and that was super helpful. I just needed a refresh and to surround myself with top industry leaders that weren’t from my company to just get new ideas. So, that’s been the last six months, and that’s been really helpful. And then, I’ve just, again, been consistently showing up for my team. Sometimes when no one shows up, or one person shows up, I’m still consistently posting for them. So, the 2023 bar—very strong. So, I’m looking forward to taking that momentum into 2024. And, what I’m excited about is, I feel like I spent the last six months absorbing, learning, and I feel like 2023 was a season of staying and learning and maintaining my business. But now, I’m going to implement the systems—like the scroll parties, the email marketing, a more streamlined follow-up system—into my business in 2024. So, 2023 was all about sticking with it, showing up, and now it’s time to take what I’ve learned and put it to work.


I love that you shared that maybe where you thought you were going to be this time last year doesn’t look the way you thought it would. And, I think that holds true for many direct sellers, many leaders in the industry. Like, it was okay this year just to maintain. It was okay to keep things going, to take a hard look at our business, to really figure out where we wanted to play, and to recalibrate. And, that’s great, because that’s giving you the momentum rolling into 2024.

Sarah Rieck: What am I most proud about in 2023 is being me and staying in my lane. I’ve always believed in myself and known that it may take a while to hit my big, scary goals, but when I hit them, I know that I will authentically do it me. It will be real, and it will not be forced.

Also, I’m very proud about fangirling. So, I totally fangirled and met Becky in March at our conference. I’ve been watching Becky from the sidelines for the last couple years, and I’ve always been a personal development junkie. So, I’ve listened to all the podcasts, read all the books, but I too have a hard time implementing. So, joining Becky has probably been one of my other most proud moments, and just finding somebody that I resonate with, that I admire, and I look up to. I’m excited to implement all of the things I’ve learned.

Also, in 2024, I’m excited for the momentum. I really got some solid systems in place. I’m working on them, as well the email marketing, and my Project Broadcast that I’ve had for years; and this community. Just collaborating with all of these wonderful folks, learning together, growing together. I get in my head a lot. I’ve been with Epicure now for three years. But, I’m not new to direct sales. I’ve actually been in direct sales for 14 years, to be exact. So, I’m finally feeling confident and excited about where my business is going. Just getting in a groove, and being me.


I love that you know what you want. You want it to be authentic and personal to you. And, you want to show up as you are, holistically. And, I think sometimes, honestly, we do lose that within a larger company brand. It’s like, “Okay, I just need to put out the same information everyone else is,” or, you know, “share the same graphics that everyone else is.” Whatever that might look like, I love that you’re really working to put things into your own belief and showing up truly as you.

Kim DiCioccio: I am grateful that we are where we are, because we definitely aren’t where we were. So, to be able to work with those that want more, want to promote, want to try out leadership maybe for the first time, just to really be there for my team. I had one of my newer team members at conference this year, which was awesome. She’s fantastic. And I think those that don’t go to conference, really, they’re missing a huge piece of what we do. And, I think we would all agree that if you want to go up, you have to show up, right? That’s something that has been ingrained in my brain since the day I started. “If you want to go up, you need to show up.” You need to go to meetings. You need to go to conferences. So, I’m grateful that she was there, and hopefully she’ll continue to go, and if I can get more people to go, then I think the sky’s the limit for all of us. When you sell a consumable product, you know, it definitely helps—and all of us do. So, that is where I’m grateful that we are where we are right now in 2023.

And in 2024, honestly, it’s just to continue to help those that want to grow. I had a consultant on my team, who was not interested in any coaching or having any team members, actually reach out to me the other day and said, “I think I might have somebody who wants to join. Can we do a three-way call?” And I’m like, “Absolutely! Of course we can.”


You know, I think this year, we’ve seen more and more people on our team that are there as hobbyists, and they’re there for the personal discount. They’re not the big top sellers on the team. But, I think that’s been a shift in 2023, as well, in seeing that there’s more people doing less volume, right? I mean, it all adds up, and keeping those people engaged and shopping with you, even if they’re not going to be your top business builder, I think has been a big challenge for leaders this year to think about, “How do we best serve those people in our team that are really here for just that personal discount, or $100 or $200 a month?” Because, that looks a lot different than in 2020, where we had a lot of people that had really big goals and less time on their hands, right?

So, there’s been some shifts in just how people are showing up. And, my prediction is that we’re going to continue to see that in 2024. There’s going to be more and more people that are representing multiple brands, that are there for that discount, there as hobbyists, and we have to find a way to make them feel part of the team and the community, even if they’re not promotion-bound.

Dena Gregory: So, I feel like I’ve had a stellar year. And, it’s interesting to hear everyone’s challenges, because, where I do feel a little bit of that, I’m in a growth phase in my business. I think my biggest highlight was probably earning our spa incentive trip. Like, that was huge. And then, of course, going on that trip and being motivated and inspired by everyone that was on that trip. And then, meeting you in-person at conference was a huge change, and getting into the Academy. It made me realize, fostering relationships is so important, regardless of whether somebody purchases from you or not, and just being there and available if they want you to be. So, that’s probably been my biggest takeaway, doing the 3 + 3 + 3s, and ABCs, and all of the things that you have taught. It’s amazing what happens when you put everything into action.


You launched your website this year, Dena, didn’t you?

Dena Gregory: Yes! That’s been a big thing. And, doing blog posts. Like, that was new to me. I’m still not as consistent as I would like to be, but in 2024, I’m going to kick it up a notch and get more consistent on blog posts and emails. I’ve got additional goals, of course. I’m going for my spa incentive trip again. I’m really close. And, I’m really excited.


And, we have a few others that launched websites this year, too. There’s been huge accomplishments. And, sometimes when we’re reflecting on the year, I find myself having to go back through my calendar or my planner to be like, “What did I do this year? Oh my gosh, that was this year? I got that done this year? I accomplished that? That was big!” But sometimes, we lose sight of all those pieces in our business that really add up and have kept you, if not where you were last year, growing as well.

I have loved this conversation so much! I feel like this is just a little glimpse into some of our VIP conversations within the Academy. And, I just appreciate all of you for being so transparent and so real and so authentic, and sharing where you’re at in your business, and also what you’re looking forward to in 2024. We all love our company and our products, and so we want to share that with the world and enjoy it while we do it.


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