Written by ThinkPinkThinkAgain
The SD who wrote this letter says all the same things my director has for my five years as a consultant, and all the things I parroted and believed. And there is definitely truth to the idea that consultants who do not work do not see earnings. But your point, pinkpeace, is exactly on point: that consultants and directors who DO work–who work hard, who sacrifice time and money and emotional bandwidth–also profit very little, if at all.
It’s entirely possible for a consultant to earn money selling Mary Kay, even if she doesn’t recruit many people. But it’s unlikely the majority, or even a significant fraction, of that money will EVER make its way out of her “business” and back into her personal life.
For example, I worked my butt off earning money to pay the balance on my wedding ring (and my husband’s) a few years ago. It took a lot of time, and also so many discounts, to tempt my clients to buy right when I needed them to (which discouraged them from buying at full price in the future, and of course made it necessary for me to work harder and contact MORE people since I was selling below retail). In retrospect I also wonder how many Facebook friends stopped following me as a result of my constant updates about this project. So, did I earn the money for the rings? Yes. I was so proud! Mary Kay was working!
But…I also went to Seminar that year, and I paid for my plane tickets from my PERSONAL bank account. There just wasn’t enough money in my MK account, you see, because I’d just paid for PCP and bought lots of foundations to replace newly expired ones in my inventory. While in Dallas, I stopped at the vendor booths and bought supplies with my PERSONAL money. A few months later, I had to settle up with my postage supplier and pay about $100 toward postage costs (why I ever started offering free shipping to my customers is beyond me). Did that money come from my MK checking account? No, I had to borrow it from my husband (and couldn’t pay it back until I got a bonus from my real job months and months later).
Poor money management? No effort put into my business? Maybe I didn’t need those supplies, even though every MK order is supposed to be nicely wrapped. Maybe I didn’t need to go to Seminar (sacrilege!). Maybe I should have stopped offering free shipping for orders $50+ (it used to be $25 but I couldn’t sustain it). Maybe if I’d just held “one extra skincare class on top of what I was already doing” every week for the year prior, I could have had “enough money to pay for Seminar and then some.” Never mind that I was already spending two nights a week away from my new husband. Never mind that I was shoving profit from reorders back into more inventory because brand new products had just come out, and I couldn’t NOT buy them.
I did my taxes this spring and WOKE UP. For some reason, looking at the numbers with my new husband was different from looking at them with my dad. I saw, more clearly than ever before, how little income my business was generating after expenses. “It really IS a hobby,” I thought to myself, horrified. “I didn’t make any money at all last year–in fact, I lost money!” Why was I giving up 5-10 hours after work and on weekends for a “business” that didn’t provide what it said it would–money toward my life? Our lives? Our home?
The Mary Kay line is that I wasn’t working enough.
My response, five years in? I’ve already worked too much.