Last week we posted a request for advice from a DIQ. She wanted to know how to become and ethical Mary Kay sales director. This is the advice provided by one of our readers.
I think it’s honorable what you’re trying to do. Here are some things I wish would have been different about my time, I did 8 years. (Started when I was 18, and really think I had a good unit).
- I wish my director would have been more understanding when I chose to go to college (why do that if you’re dedicated to mk was her response).
- Same thing when I ultimately had to get a job. I know they call it Journey Of the Broke, but this lead to so many mixed emotions because I’d never been so broke until I did mk. I just didn’t understand, I was often queen of sales for my unit and felt like I was hiding a huge secret. Try as I might, I never made 50%.
- Shark Tank, of all things, really put into perspective for me. A 50% margin is what you need to break EVEN (oh shoot). Profit comes at 65-90% profit margin depending on what you’re selling. One item to keep in stock you’ll need a 65% margin, over a hundred like in mk and you’re going to need more in the 80-90% range. If a consultant made a pitch on shark tank the two critiques they’d likely make would be: you need to increase your margins significantly, and that inventory is a nightmare and will bleed your business.
- Don’t encourage taking out debt to fund an inventory. Because the company measures success based on what you buy not what you sell (minus cheap bracelets at weekly meetings), it just makes that jump into debt rewarding for superficial reasons like recognition and prizes. A small business should not be taking on debt, especially in the first month. Normal business owners would get investors, start a campaign to raise capitol, take preorders.
- Not make me feel dirty when I left. This was the most saddening and surprising thing I experienced, and again I was in a pretty good unit. It was the right decision for me. My mom, whose an executive of a business says “as hard as it is for the company to lose an employee and train a new one, I never want someone to feel held back or like they owe it to us to stay.”
By comparison of my time in mk versus now: Now I’m in a company that was named one of the top companies to work for in its industry. I thought mk was a company that valued me by giving me opportunities to prove myself. But where I am now, the tone is totally different in a positive way.
First, the company always covers airfare, hotel, rental car, and food when traveling for work. Running an errand?–record your mileage and get reimbursed 58 cents per mile…the next week verses after taxes. Any office supplies (decor included) are also covered by the company. Everyone gets retirement, you don’t have to reach a certain level in your career. We get PTO to volunteer, whether it’s at a charity or just your kid’s school. They pay our personal cellphone and internet bills because we can work from home verses getting a tax deduction (we’re not even independent contractors).
In summary, my current workplace has really caused me to reflect on mk as a company. Day 1 the new place said “please don’t pay for anything out of pocket; it should never cost you to work here” (that was a culture shock to say the least!) And please don’t do any work, including checking emails, without being paid for it. (No zero sales parties)
Dave Ramsey has some really good advice on ethical leadership in companies like mk. I think I literally YouTubed Dave Ramsey MLM.
Do I think mk is a terrible company? No. Do I think they either intentionally or unintentionally mislead people? Yes. Do I think they’re a good place for women to work? It depends.
A therapist once told me that you’ll find the jobs/hobbies/relationships that feed your top 3 “wants/desires”. When I was in mk I wanted to feel pretty, classy, and have a reason to travel. It fed all of those. But now my desires have changed, and mk would be a horrid match for me.
I think that’s why this site can be feel so outrageously taboo to each “side”. If you felt your desires were being starved in mk, you want to convince everyone to jump ship and become saddened when people won’t. I try to embrace the grey–that nothing’s ever black or white–and ultimately people who are feeling nourished by mk will stay because the jump doesn’t make sense.
I truly wish you the best as you navigate DIQ.