How Much Do Mary Kay Sales Directors Make?

We at Pink Truth are very familiar with the often-uttered phrase “My director makes six figures!!!!” Women believe the hype that Mary Kay Sales Directors are making big money. So how much money is “big money” and how many sales directors are making it?

Here are the numbers, straight from the horse’s mouth. From a randomly selected Applause Magazine, we have the top 100 sales director incomes in each of the 5 divisions for April. These 500 sales directors represent the top 3.5% of all sales directors, and the top 0.07% (yes, way less than 1%) of all consultants in the United States. 

The top 10 monthly checks of those top 500 sales directors were:


So if you’re in the top 10 of all sales directors in Mary Kay, you’re grossing about $176,000 or more per year (multiplying these commissions by 12, even though we know they vary a lot from month to month). This is prior to the deduction of any business expenses.

But what about the bottom of the upper echelon of Mary Kay?  The bottom 10 monthly checks of these top 500 sales directors were:


The bottom 10 of the top 500 Mary Kay sales directors are grossing about $5,600 a month, prior to business expenses. That’s about $67,200 per year gross income. (BEFORE subtracting business expenses, which can be substantial.)

And 13,500 sales directors are making less than that. This is certainly not the “executive income” that is so often bragged about in Mary Kay.

So the next time you hear someone talking about the woman in Mary Kay who makes six figures, chances are it’s a lie. 13,500 Mary Kay sales directors (96.4% of directors) are making less than $67,000 per year in gross commissions. In fact, a tremendous number of sales directors are barely making minimum production each month (the amount required to keep the sales director status), which gives them monthly commissions of $800 to $1,000.

Remember that those who get to the position of sales directors in Mary Kay are deemed to be the hard workers and the successful ones. Yet the vast majority of sales directors – 96.4% are making less that $67,000 per year before the deduction of any business expenses.

And also remember, the fantasy about the big money is not limited to Mary Kay. Every multi-level marketing company promotes the idea that they have lots of big money makers. And that, my friends, is a lie.


  1. mstar1125

    This just goes to show how little most of the women who are entering this “business” know about actual business. I know a few people who are small business owners, and while their businesses bring in 6 figures, at the end of the year when all expenses and taxes are paid, most of them are paying themselves very low 5-figure salaries per year (and even 4-figure salaries). I’d imagine its the same for most MK sales directors, because that’s the true nature of business, at least when you are in the growing stage. The problem with an MK business is that you are always in the “growing” stage.

        1. MLM Radar

          The real trick is to put together about six consecutive months of The Clap magazine and see how many Directors appear in at least four of the six. You’re more likely to find that Directors appear every other month, and at least half of those appearances have Just Barely enough production to meet minimum quotas.

            1. Steven Ackerman

              The clap , something that you used to go to the Dr. and get a shot and that was it! No we have a “Clap” that has no cure! As a husband that has been dealing with this for 4 years now , and we are going on the 2nd round of directorship! Me ! and my kids will not go through this again! little does she know that this will cost her everything! sounds harsh, I know but tomorrow is not a given. I will no longer allow her or MK the clap destroy our lives! So any of you Lady’s out there have any helpful suggestions , it would be welcomed !!!

          1. Lazy Gardens

            Doing a “month on month” comparison over a series of years can be revealing too. Are they holding steady from last April to this April (which actually means they are losing ground to inflation) … or are commissions slowly sliding?

  2. Still Breaking The Basic

    “Yet the vast majority of sales directors – 96.4% are making less that $67,000 per year before the deduction of any business expenses.”

    For those of you who are active directors in the 96.4%, this is what the other 3.6% are saying about you:

    1. You’re lazy loosers who make it difficult for us to sell the opportunity to new consultants and push current ones into directorship.
    2. Your abundance mentality and deserve levels are too low.
    3. You aren’t praying for success hard enough.
    4. Mary Kay works when you do so it’s apparent that you’re not working it the way we do.
    5. Your family doesn’t support you.
    6. Your husband doesn’t make enough money for you to have multiple credit cards with high credit limits so he’s a loser.

    Do you really think you’re earning executive pay for part-time work?

    Is you life as enriched as they claim?

    1. BestDecision

      Standing ovation for 1-5! If current Directors read these, they’d feel a kick in the gut and realize they are laughed at, ignored, and shunned by the tiny percentage that get all the attention. I’m all for earning your rewards and don’t want anything handed to me, but so, so few are clearing even $50K/year. Even Cadillac Directors!

  3. Iescaped

    I finally realized that in my former Area, the SDs that I thought were “successful” were living off their husband’s salary!

    They just had a very expensive hobby and all the pretty, shiny new things they had were not purchased with MK earnings, but with hubby’s paycheck.

    Although they always would say how wildly successful they were in MK.

    All smoke and mirrors!

    1. I cut my wife off due to the fact that she is taking money from the family finances to support her MK habit! I now control all the money coming into the house, all of witch is mine! I feel that I have lost my life as I once knew it. She’s never around and she brings nothing to the family but aggravation , frustration, and no money to help support our three kids! I keep hearing from her that if I support her , the money will come! I’m not stupid ! I see through the MK cult ! Any words of what to do next would be helpful!🙏🏽

  4. BestDecision

    Here’s a month-to-month comparison of May commissions:
    Lisa Madson $54,620 (2016). $60,780 (2015)
    Auri Hatheway $15,247 (2016). $19,768 (2015)
    Tammy Crayk $14,977 (2016). $15,823 (2015

    Note: It’s harder to compare Directors’ commissions because the numbers are now only published to that division’s sales force. Only the NSDs are seen by everyone.

    It’s interesting that someone that was Queen of Recruiting and Queen of her division, more than once I think, has made it to NSD but has checks dropping. Auri Hatheway made $154,877 gross commissions through May 2015, but she only made $130,021 YTD in monthly comparison. A $24,000 drop in income isn’t a small amount!

    Remember that May is always one of the bigger months of the year for production and checks. You can definitely see a dropping trend, Lazy Gardens.

  5. cindylu

    I knew my SD had her poor husband brow beat while she barely kept her unit going. He was definitely the bread winner. How sad that MK supposedly wrote out the concept for her company based on what was wrong in the sales world. All she did was teach women to hurt each other. She transferred the exact treatment that bothered her in her previous sales jobs into MK. All the deceit, bullying, dog eat dog schemes have been taught for the past 40 years. Once the (party/phoney skin care class) fizzled, then the narcissists were free to use women and deceive them in anyway they can imagine. I think MK wanted to make up for lost time. Having a company that was profitable was her priority. It took precedence over husbands, children or following her so called Christian philosophies. All that gaudy pink. The over the top beauty pageant dresses, sashes, ribbons, sequins, pink cars, her ornate pink mansion, wigs etc. certainly weren’t signs of modesty. She and her NSD’s screamed selfishness, narcissism and vanity.


    Those that speak about not making money are speaking truth. I was a sales director for 3 years and made the decision to step down to a consultant. The perks of being in the TOP 2% of the company is VERY COSTLY. Not only are you giving customers samples, catalogs, and gifts with purchases, you are NOW gifting your unit for every little accomplishment. AND if your unit does make production every other month you are left FINISHING it up on your own credit card.

    I LOVE the products and the interaction with customers, but after accumulating over $10,000 in debt, I came out of the PINK CLOUD, and chose to only SELL and service my customers. NO more meetings, seminars, retreats, etc that SUCK $$$$ in the 1,000s each year. I will never stop selling, but the push from my director to re-enter DIQ will always be ignored.

    1. BestDecision

      Just looking at the March Applause confirms what we were feeling. Commissions are dropping. Only 17 NSDs are on target to net an “executive income” after taxes (>$175k).

      Then, subtract their expenses.

      Out of the entire sales force, Applause shows the real numbers of how many ACTUALLY make that boasted “executive income”. Counting NSDs among the 10,000 or so Directors, that’s 0.0017 of them.

      So glad I’m no longer counting out what my check would be at month-end!

      1. Formykids

        Hey Pink Truthers. First let me say that I love this site and I hate MK and what it has done to my family. I just want to raise a point that always bothers me in many of the financial arguements made here regarding taxes. Often I see posts like above referring to after taxes or that is before taxes. All jobs at every hourly rate pay taxes on whatever their net taxable income is. When salaries are posted or someone has an executive income, they are always referring to their pre tax total or gross income or in a business your net taxable income, not gross revenue(remember gross income and gross revenue are very different). So general taxes having to be paid is not a good arguement against any job, MLM or otherwise. Only tax arguements specific to that job are worth bringing up, or valid points of arguements. So with regards to MK or Any MLM the pertinent fact regarding taxes is not that they have to pay them……we all do….is that whatever net taxable income they have after expenses, is taxed at a higher rate since they must pay the employer portions of fica and SS. You could also presume that since most in MK are in debt that they haven’t paid quarterly taxes, so unless they show a loss, they will owe money that they likely don’t have at year end. Let’s please stick to only the most valid arguements and there are plenty.

        1. TRACY

          The issue about taxes is not that taxes have to be paid. It’s that the taxes are higher for a self-employed person because of the self-employment taxes. So it’s still an important issue.

          An additional issue is the taxes paid on the value of prizes. The taxes will be paid on whatever value MK assigns to the prizes, which is is often inflated. That means the “free” prize is not really so free, and the taxes are inflated in accordance with the inflated “value.”

          So maybe people are looking at it a little wrong because income taxes are paid no mater what kind of job you work. But MLM participation does still have special issues related to taxes.

        2. MLM Radar

          There is also the problem with taxes paid on product purchase.

          The way that taxes work in a real business is this: You collect sales tax from your customer based on your actual sales price. Then you file a sales tax return and turn that tax over to the government, after subtracting any sales taxes you already paid when you purchased the products.

          But in an MLM sales taxes are calculated differently, and you wind up paying much higher sales tax. In an MLM it works like this: When you purchase the products at “wholesale” price the company collects sales tax from you based on the full “suggested retail” price. But whether you sell at “full retail” or less, or not at all, whether you collect tax from your customer or not, the government get gets paid sales tax based on the maximum possible sales price instead of the actual sales price.

          The MLM company (including MK) doesn’t want you thinking about your actual sales price; they’ve already congratulated you for selling at “full retail” the day your purchased your products.

          MK does have tax refund forms you can use to claim a refund for overpaid taxes, but few people know about this, and fewer use them. Furthermore, when you purchase personal use products at “wholesale” (50% off!), MK still collects sales tax on “full retail” price and refuses to refund the difference. They claim you sold the products to yourself at “full retail.”

          So yes, taxes DO matter in MK. They matter a lot.

          1. Formykids

            Tracy and MLM Radar. I fully agree with all of the specific tax implications you laid out and they are pertinent and strong arguements. My beef is only with the general comments that make it seem like paying taxes of any kind are somehow a specific problem for MLM. Those generalizations, in my view, weaken the arguements laid out here, in many cases. Thanks for your clarity.

            1. BestDecision

              It’s a problem of people boasting about how much money they “made”, yet they don’t subtract taxes or expenses before using that amount in their story. You can gross $4,000/month as a Cadillac Director, but you’ll take home < $3,000 after taxes and then STILL have to subtract out expenses. At best and with zero expenses, which isn't ever going to happen as a business owner, a Cadillac Director doing base maintenance production will make $36,000/year. Yet, they LIE all day long!

            2. pinkvictim

              I don’t see it as PT’ers saying paying taxes is the problem. I think the problem lies in that Kaybots always cite gross profits and fail to cite net profit after expenses, including taxes as one of the expenses. Kaybots tend to let certain expenses slip…

              Additionally, as Tracy pointed out, taxes on IC’s are higher than taxes on employee wages from a J-O-B, so there’s even less leftover.

    2. Pamela

      Who are You, and why are you spending soooo much of your quality time researching the Mary Kay world if you’ve checked out. You know we’re reminded to check out the individual that’s bearing the negative reports. Blessings to YOU. Get over yourself.👍👍😄😄🐘🐴😎

  7. Danielle

    It is still good to note that Mary Kay is not an MLM or a Multi Level Marketing group and in all honesty it is semi easy to become a director. You don’t have to be putting in that many hours or caring that much to be a director. Yes it takes work but remember that not all women are rocking it of their own choice. Just because some don’t do it in Mary Kay doesn’t mean that they couldn’t. I don’t know about you but any mother that is making even $50,000 on top of having kids is an amazing woman to me. I don’t care what they make. Also directors often have other jobs and kids and many other things in life. They are not just mary kay.

    1. TRACY

      Danielle – Yes, Mary Kay is an MLM. People are recruited into multiple levels in the heirarchy, and that makes it an MLM.

      It’s not easy to become a director. It takes a ton of time, and putting in a ton of your own money. It is a complete hamster wheel, as month after month, you are trying to get people to order products so you can make your unit production requirements.

      I’m not saying that making $50,000 is terrible. But it is terrible when you consider that these are the TOP women in the whole company, and they are sacrificing their families to do it, probably to the tune of 60 to 80 hours per week. It’s simply not the “executive” income that they claim MK is.

  8. Formykids

    This may be the single biggest bit of fakery in MK, that it is not MLM. Direct sales is when you purchase from the company and turn around and sell it to an end user, which sometimes does happen in MK, so it is Direct Sales. As soon as you recruit someone under you and earn money off of their production, you add a layer, plain and simple, and once you add another layer it is multi layer, by definition . The interesting thing is MK admits that MLM is bad and predatory just by the great lengths they go to to convince people they are not MLM. Really just self condemnation.

  9. Tiffany

    I personally know SEVERAL people who are ACTUALLY profiting a six figure income as a Mary Kay Director. They’re normal people who are willing to actually work hard for what they get…. It’s not THAT hard.. And the business expenses aren’t (or don’t have to be) “substantial”. Sell the product, invest back into your business so no personal money is spent. Plus there are tons of tax write offs if you’re willing to just keep good books… So this is quite bias and inaccurate in my opinion. But to each is own. God bless!!

    1. TRACY

      No, Tiffany, you don’t. You haven’t seen their tax returns, you only know what they tell you. Almost everyone loses money in MLM. A small fraction of 1% will make that six figure income, and the only reason they make that money is because hundreds or thousands of people below them in the pyramid are losing money (putting money in to fund the commission checks of those above them).

      You’ve bought into the big lie.

      1. Steven Ackerman

        God Bless you Tracy!! I have used the third year of showing a loss. This year it,s all on me!! Oh !! I got the speech on how MK got us a better tax LOSS for the past 3 years not any more lets see what happens this year !!!!

        1. Lazy Gardens

          STEVE: “I got the speech on how MK got us a better tax LOSS for the past 3 years ”

          Go back and recalculate what your NET income (spendable) would have been those three years if there had been no Mary Kay income or expenses.

          Often the net income is higher without the home business’s losses.

          1. Steven Ackerman

            I would much rather have nice vacations with my family , if my wife would only get a real job that makes real money!!! Not this shell game of a life that i am living due to the tactics of MK !! and all the lives that MK has destroyed over the years!

    2. MLM Radar

      “Invest back in your business.”

      That’s code for “take all your profits and give them right back to Mary Kay.” You know… all that extra income you were supposed to be taking home to help your family. Give it all back to the pink predator.

      It’s like feeding your winnings back into a slot machine.

      Fast forward a year. You wind up with closets full of expiring and discontinued products you can’t sell MK Corporate and the NSDs have your cash.

    1. Steven Ackerman

      As a spouse of a former director , I am at my end! due to the BS that they! keep feeding my wife? or the former person i used to know! But i keep hearing that i don’t understand ! I hope that all the higher ups in MK are proud of what they have done!!! you all SUCK !!!

      1. Julie

        Dear Steven, I am so very sorry for your current position. It is not unlike being the spouse of an addict, this is clear. The differences are in the defenses and the method of escape, as with MK the escape seems to be the artificial but unending affirmation to a person of their value and potential.

        There is a book that truly changed my life, Courage To Change, it is a book coming from AlAnon, the support group for loved ones of alcoholics and all addicts. It helped me let go of my rage while still loving those hurting me, and once the rage subsided cause I learned how to let go of it — I could see so much more clearly and have faith in what I was saying.

        My ability to stand CALMLY strong on what I knew to be the truth did show my husband I was not fooling around, and he KNEW my words couldn’t be turned against me, and he knew they were TRUE. This book helped me also in every other facet of my life so I could detach – love the person but not take responsibility for their nightmares.

        It is available at bookstore or on ebay/amazon. It is not a lesson book, it is a daily readings book that provokes such strengthening thoughts, I highly recommend reading it at the start of your day cause it can sure transform them.

        I pray so much for you and your loved ones, Steven. So grateful Tracy has provided you with SOME outlet for such a nightmare.

        1. Steven Ackerman

          As i’m sure the words you have spoken ,have truth to them. This is too much like the crap that they shove down her throat , all this uplifting crap to make you want to go out and take on the world! Nothing wrong with motivation as long as you benefit from it ! All this has done to my life is bad things ,not one good thing has come from MK ! Not sure what to do next ? I can tell you that it won’t be anything that sounds or looks like MK ! Thanks for your reply .

          1. Juliet

            Thank you for your response Steven. The Courage to Change book is NOT cotton candy coated lovey-dovey warm fuzzies, lololol, I promise. The daily ”reading” will be FOR EXAMPLE, about how you are NOT THE REASON for the addict’s delusions, NOR ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OUTCOME OF THE ADDICT’S DELUSIONS.


            If I can find a way to show you a sample page, I sure will post the url or something but that is what the book is for, to free the loved ones of addicts, in this case, an MK Addict, to free the loved ones from the FALSE BELIEF that you can change them, or that you caused this, and to let you find your own freedom even while living in the midst of the nightmare.

            I am glad to keep sharing what I can with you regardless of whether you ”do as I say”. I recognize your pain, man, and what I am here to do is tell you that, and that you are NOT crazy, you are not alone, and STEVEN, THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU TO BE FREE OF THE MADNESS. God Bless You!

              1. Char

                I’ve long compared MLMers to drug addicts and dealers. Stay with me for a sec and you’ll see what I mean:

                First time trying drug = Get product free from MLM dealer to get you interested
                Recreational User = Pays higher price/double retail to MLM dealer, only buys a bit.
                Becoming a habit = personal use consultant
                Addict = Interested in making money to support MLM habit, hangs with other addicts
                Dealer/Addict = know it’s bad, but will do anything like lie, hide expenses, find money for the MLM fix
                Traffickers = Leaders just want the money and will act big and tough
                Growers/Lords = MLM Corporation

                It all started innocently enough to have a good time and enjoy the “high”. Mind you, the MLMer/dealer always had an ulterior motive. MLMing is an insidious predatory method to get people “hooked” in order to collect money.

                This is one reason I’m totally against enabling an MLMer just as you wouldn’t enable an addict. Don’t buy their stuff, give them money, or credit cards. De-programming an MLMer requires an intervention, or hopefully they hit bottom, or eventually they figure it out and decide to quit on their own.

                The book may be helpful.

                Unlike the person who tries drugs, who knows it’s ultimately bad, many MLMers do not. No doubt most people here wish the main message to be “Just Say No” – to all multi-level marketing like all illicit drugs.

                Because, look what can happen when you don’t! So sorry.

              1. Juliet

                Hi Steven 🙂 I am not sure if you mean can you buy it online or is it available in an online format so I will answer both. You can definitely buy the hardcover book online but SHOP AROUND, some of the prices are insane, anywhere under $15 is a sane price lololol.

                For an Online App I found that Hazelden Treatment Centers has a FREE app of very similar books that I am certain would be just as helpful, but Courage is not one of the titles so far. This one is for both Apple or Android:

                Inspirations is a free collection of daily messages to inspire you on your journey of recovery. With wisdom and advice from over 30 different beloved recovery mainstays like ‘Twenty-Four Hours a Day,’ ‘Codependent No More,’ ‘Each Day a New Beginning,’ and others, you’ll receive a different message each day to carry with you wherever you go.

                If you look up Hazelden’s website you may find other books as well that may be helpful, about codependency, etc., and if this ”addiction talk” is all new to you, well, I can sure help you out there as well. Some of the items are specific to women which I am mentioning cause that could be real irritating to see a title that sounds great then it says ”for women”, not that it won’t help men as well but just a heads up on some of them saying that.

                1. Steven Ackerman

                  Thank you for all the info ! I happen to think that my wife is beyond help! Any women that neglects her kids for the pink dream is no longer a mother , in my opinion! Forget what she has taken from me and accused me of only to make herself look in the right. Witch is the the constant flavor of the day, how she is doing this for her kids and me! As sick as this may sound , I’m sure it’s very common on this site. I get no help with anything, Nor do my kids. God forbid I or they ask for anything of a mother ” all the things that any mother would deal with on a daily basis . we get the i’m too busy temper tantrum / speech! All while contributing nothing to the family finances . If it was not for the help of my father with some money every month, this family would have been in a much different way of life. wow I haven’t typed this much in a long time! feels good ! ok I’m done! thanks again!!

                    1. Steven Ackerman

                      I keep reading all of the comments ,and reading other peoples opinions . Nothing seems to help me see a way out of all of this. I know that most of you are just trying to help someone such as me . The women that i used to call my wife has gone further into that Pink goodnight ! Found out through my daughter that she thinks she is going for it again to become a director for the second time. Meanwhile i’m slowly dying trying to pay all the bills! I give her no money for MK nor will i ever!! But anything that i’m paying for that she uses for MK , I told her her will have to start paying me for. Such as car insurance , cell phone, ect.. am I crazy!! Trolls need not respond!!

                  1. TRACY

                    Uggh! Going for director a second time is such insanity. They tell themselves they just didn’t work hard enough and/or didn’t do it right the first time around. It will be different this time! Now I know what I did wrong!

                    1. Julie

                      Steven, I have a number of thoughts from what you wrote today, and above all else, I want to say YOU ARE NOT ALONE, STEVEN. It truly doesn’t matter what format the addiction is in, the behaviors are ultimately the same in the suffering of the addict’s loved ones as well as the addict’s behavior.

                      My sister in law died of alcoholism at age 44. Her husband did EVERYTHING to help/stop her as did my mother in law. When he took all the car keys, she walked to a relatives house and drove the relatives car to the liquor store. When that was exposed, she took cabs.

                      My husband and I have been together since 1982, I was 17, he was 26. I did NOT stick around for 30+ years believing ”oh one day he WILL STOP DRINKING”, let me assure you. In 2012 I was again at the end of my rope as I knew hubby would be getting out of jail after 5 months in, and I was in a constant conversation/prayer with God, asking Him WHAT DO I DOOOOO!!!!! I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS ANY MORE!!!! He said to me [God did] – Julie, I am going to ask you to give it one more try. That’s all – one more time, please. And I agreed and its a long painful story but indeed hubby HAD gotten sober IN HIS MIND and still is now, going on 6 years. An alcoholic who is not sober in their mind, only in body, is a ”dry drunk”.

                      So what this makes my brother in law and myself is ”co-dependent”. Without the love that is twisted into co-dependency an addict has a much harder time remaining in a home, job, family.

                      Which horrible as I feel to say it, it sounds like a PHYSICAL separation from your wife, and the mother of your children, would be an act of self-preservation for you. You are already emotionally separated as she seems to see only her needs and wants and as long as you are there, holding down the fort, keeping a roof over her head with utilities, food, and so on — why SHOULD she change?

                      I know I shouldn’t be dispensing such advice but cold-blooded truth is the only hope we have when we are in the eye of the addiction hurricane. To quote falsehoods to you would be an extremely cruel betrayal to you when I know how you suffer enduring them from mk.

                      I STRONGLY urge you to find a family therapist for YOU AND THE KIDS — don’t even worry about your wife, she won’t want to, she won’t cooperate even if she went —- FOCUS ON YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. All she is focusing on IS HER. Someone needs to care for you and the kids, and it looks like it is only you who can do that.

                      Every cloud has a silver lining, Steven, and Pink Truth may be giving you a Pink Lining lololol. God Bless You and your kids and your wife — she is suffering. As an addict myself as well as enabler/co-dependent and more, I do know she IS suffering.

                    2. Char

                      The passion most of us have against the horrible scam of multi-level marketing is validated by Steven.

                      I’m truly sorry we can’t seem to help him.

                      For everyone else reading this and contemplating Mary Kay, or any other company that uses MLM, I’ll say it again – JUST SAY NO. Don’t get sucked in, don’t get hooked, don’t enable anyone who does it. The product masking this insidious scam is not harmless as you can plainly see.

                      Steven, I know this isn’t any consolation to you right now as you are in the thick of it, but maybe your story will help others. Sometimes that’s the best we can do. Share and educate others about our own bad experience and become an advocate.

  10. La La

    Tiffany, are you also Pamela the Troll from last year? You basically said the same thing and ended your comments with, “blesssings” or “God Bless.”
    I smell a Kaybot Troll…..

      1. MLM Radar

        “I know several directors who make money.”

        No, she doesn’t. She knows several directors who CLAIM to make money. She assumes their claims are true. She should know better.

        One of the first things taught to anyone recruiting for Mary Kay – or any other MOM – is to over-glamorize their position. Make your position look so good that your prospect will want the same for herself. Ignore that you’re barely making your credit card payment. Ignore that your last 10 class bookings have flopped: you had 6 cancellations, one booking when you showed up and nobody was there, two that rescheduled for “sometime next month,” and one that actually held. Worse, the one that actually held was in a filthy house where your samples got snatched up, some of your products got pawed over and spoiled, and your actual sales didn’t cover the money you spent on gas.

        This is what you’re supposed to sell as a glamorous, easy-money opportunity, because if you recruit enough people you can EARN BIG commissions from their purchases. She knows this for herself. She’s not stopping long enough to recognize that the “directors who make money” are doing the same thing.

        It’s called “Fake It ‘Til You Make It,” which falsely implies that you CAN “make it” based on lies. She knows this is a lie when she tells herself to do it. She’s not stopping long enough to recognize that the “directors who make money” are doing the same thing.

        It’s also called “Find a way or make a way,” which is supposed to motivate you to keep going, keep glamorizing the fantasy, until you reach your goal. What she fails to see is that her goal is just a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. She’ll NEVER find a way, because her goal is just a mirage. Everything she’s been told about recruiting comes down to lying about her success so that she can get other people to join, which is EXACTLY what the her directors have done to HER!

  11. Juliet

    Char, thank you so much for breaking down how MK relates to drug addiction, and your analysis holds for ANYTHING someone does to escape from what overwhelms them, and causes them to cut out their loved ones for the sake of the addiction.

    For those who have to endure the consequences the addict’s behaviors lead to – the suppressed eventual rage, the helplessness, the overwhelming need to try to control the out of control behavior – the concepts of Alanon teach how to detach from what is not your responsibility while still loving the addict, and if needed, how to live in the situation but finding your own inner calm.

    The Courage to Change book has one page per day – it’s dated perpetually – it’s a short reading about any number of things, can be gratitude, reflection, dealing with how to stay sane inside insanity – it’s not a huge commitment to read each day and I read plenty of other days at a time too.

    Hope this helps someone, you sure helped me Char!

  12. BestDecision

    Pam Shaw is charging $229 for a workshop that only includes 2 meals. You get either her (outdated) Design Book or “Breakthrough” workbook that normally cost $24-39. Then, you still have to pay for a hotel room.

    All while Fall Retreats are costing money, Leadership Conference registration will be right around the corner, and people are supposed to “bee-lieve” all the hype about Holiday open houses and selling oodles for Christmas cash and, therefore, spending a fortune on inventory.

    See something wrong with that?

    1. My wife just told me that she is up to her ears in debt and she is looking for a job, but says she is not quitting MK ! Is this a sign that my nightmare is coming to an end ! I hope ! Or do i have to do something to push this along? I still Love my wife < but can"t stand her , MK has taken her from me and our kids! Please help!!!!

      1. MLM Radar

        This is going to sound hard. There’s no easy way to say this.

        You love the idea of the woman your wife used to be. Or you love who you though she was. To quote someone who has a lot of experience dealing with marital infidelity issues, you’re “smoking the hopium.” You need to focus on what she DOES, not what she SAYS. Is she looking to fund her next MK fix? Is she just telling you what you want to hear? How serious is this job-hunting effort?

        You wife is an addict. She doesn’t want to see her addiction. If she did see it she’d return her inventory and commit to paying down the debt. But that’s not what her actions are telling you. She may also say she can’t quit because she made commitments, or it would hurt her “team.” Those words tell you that her commitment to MK is greater than her commitment to you and her children.

        Signs that this job-hunting effort is serious:
        1. She writes her resume. She struggles with how to describe her time in Mary Kay. She sends the resume to potential employers and posts it at
        2. The job she’s seeking is consistent with her training and background.
        3. She actively searches for job fairs and attends.
        4. She is up-front with you about the debt and shows you she’s working on paying it down.
        5. She stops going to MK events, including the weekly suck-cess meeting.
        6. She just focuses on selling off her remaining inventory. She may place small orders for a customer, but nothing above a minimum. (Experienced MK directors are masters of manipulation to keep consultants from returning inventory.)
        7. She DOESN’T look for a “job” at another MLM. (If you want a list, look at the Direct Selling Association member list.)

        Signs that this job-hunting effort isn’t serious and she’s just trying to get you off her back:
        1. She fills out a few applications at the mall and restaurants. Few or no interviews, or she turns down job offers.
        2. She’s very vague about what job she’s seeking: cashier, waitress, whatever… (unless she has no real training past high school).
        3. No resume. You buy resume writing software but she doesn’t use it.
        4. You tell her about a job fair. She finds a reason to avoid going. But she doesn’t hesitate to sign up for the next big MK event (“Can’t afford to go? That’s exactly why you NEED to go!”)
        5. Another big MK order shows up at your door, and another follows.
        6. She continues to attend MK weekly meetings and participate on conference calls.
        7. She talks about exciting opportunities at other MLMs: they have a better compensation plan, they don’t require inventory purchases (a lie), a former MK “team” member wants her to join…

        Please try to keep your focus on what she DOES. If she’s reached a turning point her actions will show it. Those actions will be REAL actions, not just “show” actions to convince you to back off.

        Would you put up with her behavior if, instead of Mary Kay, she was addicted to alcohol or had a boyfriend? Marital infidelity comes in many forms. Financial infidelity is right up at the top with the other big ones.

        1. Marital infidelity has killed me already , I don’t know if it”s the real thing ! I have been cheated on in so many ways! No help with family finances ! No help with day in and day out stuff with the kids! No relationship with me, on any level! yes! No ! nothing in the bedroom! The damage done to our family and our relationship is so bad and all she does is tell me how i have killed us over the years! All i have done is be there for my family since day one . Nobody is perfect! Nor do I claim to be! I don’t think i deserve this! All i want is out!! on so many levels!!

          1. MLM Radar

            Yes, it’s real. Maybe some of it is your fault, but a lot of what’s going on is your justifiable negative reaction to her bad behavior. That gets used as a convenient excuse for her to blame-shift.

            For instance: You promise your kids a Disney trip for summer vacation. You set aside money each month for eight months. You and the kids spend Christmas week making reservations and plans. But when you sit down two months in advance to buy airplane tickets the money is gone! She’s secretly spent it all on MK inventory and trips! You explode, scream at her, maybe break a few things. The kids hide in their rooms and cry. The Disney trip is cancelled this year.

            Suddenly – BLAMESHIFT! Offender-victim reversal! You’re MEAN! You’re VIOLENT! It’s all YOUR fault! You just killed what little relationship you had! SHE didn’t decide to call off the Disney trip – YOU did. And you hang your head feeling guilty because you DID yell, and you DID break some things and you DID call off the trip.

            But is it really your fault? You reacted, badly, yes. The kids did cry. You did call off the Disney trip. But NONE of that would have happened if she hadn’t secretly STOLEN all the money you were saving! She STOLE the trip your kids had been planning for months. Is it unreasonable to be angry when you find out you’ve been robbed by someone you trusted? No it isn’t. I repeat: it is NOT unreasonable for you to be angry. And it’s VERY reasonable for you to call off a vacation you can no longer afford.

            The only questions that remain are these: (1) How much more are you willing to put up with? (2) Is the cost of continuing to put up with the harm she’s causing greater than the cost of throwing her out? If you throw her out there will be pain, but it’ll be the pain of cleansing a festering wound.

            There’s a website you may want to read: Chump Lady: Leave a cheater, gain a life. It’s mostly about victims of affairs, but if you view it from the perspective that financial infidelity is on par with other forms of infidelity, there’s a lot of wisdom to be found.

            1. Steven Ackerman

              None of what has happened to me and my kids is my or our fault! This is a very calculated scam !! That most don’t realize until it’s too late! Amazing how it’s always my fault, I hear it from her and now you claim it’s my fault as well! I am a hard working father of three great kids! All i do in life is for them, all i do for myself is what i need to survive . Otherwise it’s all for them! That’s the way it’s supposed to be! My wife claims she does MK for them, but it has only hurt them and her ! and me , but i don’t matter ! She fails to see any of this , and just keeps chasing money! that isn’t there! I need some better advise from someone who is going through the same thing as me and my kids. How about it dad’s , anyone out there willing to share there story!

              1. MLM Radar

                Did I say it was all your fault? Did I even suggest that? No. I did not. But it seems you’re so angry that you read it that way.

                In my marriage I was the angry MLM victim and hubby was the MLM addled believer. It took humiliating failures at several MLMs before he finally started to see the truth. He was wrong, wrong, wrong. But he wanted positive affirmation and support that I was completely unwilling to give, so I was probably 5% to blame, while he was 95% to blame.

                Getting out of the mess wasn’t fair either. I had to provide 100% of the family support, plus fork out over $70,000 to pay off his debts. I’ll be YEARS past retirement before I can pay off the house. What gratitude did I get? I got told that he couldn’t change the past and that I needed to put it behind me! That’s all the apology I ever got. Did I get angry? Very. I still resent it. Maybe enough to be 5% to blame.

                But I guess my input isn’t good enough for you, because I’m not a guy. Fine.

                I don’t know you. All I know is what you posted. You asked for a response and help. You got it. Now you want affirmation that you’re pure as the driven snow and totally blameless. I’d be a fool if I said that to the people I know well, and doubly a fool if I said it to a stranger.

                1. Steven Ackerman

                  Sorry if it sounds like i’m playing the blame game, you did post that it was or could be part my fault. Well you may be right? I have let this go on for too long, and I deserve better! Shame on me for holding on to 23 years. That isn’t sarcasm . Just rambling! This sucks ,and I see no painless way out , staying in or getting out . Both will suck, and have lasting affects on my kids! They also hate this Pink nightmare !!!

                  1. Juliet

                    “This sucks ,and I see no painless way out , staying in or getting out”. That’s because there ISN’T a painless way to do anything in your situation. If things stay as they are, you will suffer ever deepening depression as your suppressed rage eats you alive. If you take control and be a responsible parent as your wife will not be one, it will hurt like hell but nothing like it hurts trying to stay sane inside insanity.


                    BUT THERE ARE SOLUTIONS.

                    Please make your peace with that horrible truth and move on from this denial stage.

                    Good luck, Stephen, we are all so pulling for you, but only you can do anything to improve your childrens lives and yours.

                    1. Steven Ackerman

                      Thank You for all the good advise , I may not have always comprehended what was being said, but I know what I have to do! There is no tomorrow in this so called union of the heart . Sucks to have to say that ,but it is what it is ! Only if she would stop drinking the Pink Cool Aid ! Life is too short!

                    2. “There is no tomorrow in this so called union of the heart .”

                      “Only if she would stop drinking the Pink Cool Aid !”

                      Which is it? Game over? Or, there’s a chance if she leaves MKult?

                      Until you decide, you will be stuck in a place of inaction.

              2. Dude, I have posted here with suggestions you have completely ignored. I may not be a dad, but I am a husband of a MKult victim. My story is the same as yours. You don’t need to hear another story, you need to start figuring out what you want to do.

                You want to bail? Start making your plan.
                You want to help your wife? Start making your plan.

                You’ve been offered advice on both. It’s up to you to decide and commit to that decision.

              3. Lazy Gardens

                “None of what has happened to me and my kids is my or our fault! ”

                However, you have a lot of control over what happens from now on. You know what you are up against – an addiction and a cult mentality. Get family counseling for you and the kids and take steps to limit further financial damage.

  13. Still Breaking The Basic

    “Experienced MK directors are masters of manipulation to keep consultants from returning inventory.”

    If my ex-director got word that someone wanted to return inventory, she reached out to “mentor” the poor consultant personally. If she sold a couple of things, fine. If not, fine too. Just keep the poor consultant doing stupid things until it’s too late to return it for a refund.

    So what if the consultant is stuck with inventory? It’s her fault she didn’t work hard enough. As long as the director’s commission isn’t charged back, mission accomplished.

  14. didpink

    Enough with the thinking. You have seen and thought enough. Time for the doing. Start with a credit check. See how many accounts are open. No doubt you and your wife are on things together like a mortgage or car payment etc. This will pull up both of your credit. See what is happening outside of what you know. Is there warehousing of product anywhere? If she is really leaving, that needs to be packed up and returned to get some money back. Get your ducks in a row. Maybe take her off the checking accounts or open another one and deposit your pay in there. Do you share a cell phone plan? Check calls and also if need be, take her number off it, let her pay w her MK money. Take care of your family and support them. Let her do her own thing and see how fast this changes.

    1. Juliet

      Steven, please absorb what didpink has said.

      The Kbot may have DESTROYED both of your credit reports.

      If you go to, you can get your credit reports for free once every 12 months. These reports are from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You may not get your report ONLINE from all 3, but two or even one could be enough to show her opening accounts IN BOTH OF YOUR NAMES that you have no clue about. My husband, at one point, was opening accounts SOLELY IN MY NAME.

      I hadn’t read the posts in full between MLMRadar and yourself till now, and truly, I see exactly what happened there.

      You did not read her posts correctly at all because you are experiencing panic and are defensive at every turn due to the stress of living in insanity.

      You cannot maintain a peaceful, healthy home for ANYONE under the circumstances, there is no way.

      While I don’t know of any actual in-person support groups for victims of MLM’s although there should be, but a therapist specializing in addiction could potentially help your wife IF SHE EVER ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF CONTROL AND DESTROYING YOUR LIVES.

      You need to have her leave, or you need to leave with the kids.

      Drastic action is PAINFUL but as was said earlier, it is the pain of a festering wound beginning to heal.

    2. Steven Ackerman

      i’m on the cell phone thing < she was told 2 months ago that I was not going to pay for MK anything, any more . including phone , car insurance ect ect ..little does she know that I'm cutting off her health care at the end of this year!!!! lets see if MK has her back My guess is NAH !!!

    3. I took over the bills and changed the bank account to my name and different bank , I told her moths ago to plan on paying her own phone and car insurance! As far as the bills go I get no help at all! What a surprise ! I do it all, make the money and pay all the bills, run the kids around ect ect ! She also thinks that the family printer in the house is her MK print shop. Two years ago before I discovered what MK was all about, I bought her a printer for her MK usage ! Once the ink ran out that was it , she has been using the family printer and complaining when it’s out of ink !! Sounds petty ,but if you add up all the petty things. It adds up to a large nut! No more the end is near! ya smell it!! Has a crappy Pinky stench to it. My kids and I deserve better!

      1. Juliet

        There’s nothing I can do to help you through this, Steven, obviously!! But I do remember being told by a friend after she left her husband that I apparently had told her ”what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and she said she repeated that to herself the entire time she was doing the act of leaving. It’s not the happiest little mantra but it has gotten ME through plenty of tough times, too! Good Luck, Steven, you and the kids deserve it, and I pray your wife comes out of the pink fog soon, soon, soon.

      2. MLM Radar

        There should be a way to connect the printer to your wireless network through your computer, such that you can permit access by friendly devices (you and the kids) while denying access to unfriendly devices.

        Maybe you could just change the network password and block any MK affiliated device from the entire home network. If she can find money to buy inventory, she can find money to pay for WiFi access. Or she can do her websurfing at Starbucks while she’s waiting to meet her next victim, err, prospect.

        Oh, and perhaps upgrade your printer if it’s the same model as her MK printer. That way your ink or toner cartridges won’t disappear when hers run out.

        Business is business, you know. If MK equipment and supplies are to be deductible on the tax return, the MK dedicated equipment shouldn’t be commingled with the personal use equipment. Nothing personal, of course. It’s just prudent tax planning. Any rational business owner would agree.

        (Of course it’s personal.)

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