Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

The Four Stages of Your Mary Kay Business

Here’s a cool Mary Kay training piece that the sales directors pass around ad nauseum. Someone made up four stages for your Mary Kay career. Below are those stages, with my description of the reality of those stages in italics.

This is the stage where you are doing the things that are most productive in this business, such as using and sharing the products, showing others the opportunity, attending your Success Meeting, planning your work and working your plan, reading, and learning all that you can about the business. You initiate communication with your Director and set goals on a weekly and monthly basis. You play by the rules – book 5 to hold 3- and always are aware that you are in a learning and building stage and within that, comes hope and excitement.

Let’s be real. This stage is about you just doing whatever your director tells you to. It’s not about learning, because if you learn too much, you might quit Mary Kay right away.

If you ask too many questions, she shuts you down and tells you to not worry about it until later. She tells you to trust her because she knows what she’s doing and she has your best interest at heart. She might even throw a little religion in there to gain your trust. You follow her lead because you believe her.

Even though you have all the tools at your disposal, you start to take shortcuts in working your business – certain that all that you have learned in Stage #1 is not necessary. You booked all your friends, failed to use the proper booking approach with the guests, yet are surprised that you have no bookings. The one facial you had booked cancelled and when you attempted to call another, she said “No”. You will hear yourself saying “I have no leads” or “No one wants to have a facial”. You haven’t picked up your Career Essentials in weeks (Why should you? You skimmed through it once), called your Director (Why should you? She is supposed to read your mind and call you!), gone to a meeting in a month (Why should you? You have nothing to crow about!), and anyway, you’re starting to get a little upset about the product collecting dust on your shelf. You don’t have time to do any of these things. (Why don’t people understand your situation at home, job, etc.?!) You quickly move into Stage #3.

This stage is about you finding out the truth about Mary Kay. Most women don’t want to hold appointments. They don’t want to be bothered with your insincere warm chatting. The little MK gimmicks don’t work because most women won’t fall for them.

So, like almost everyone else in Mary Kay, you’re selling next to nothing. You’re discouraged because you’re in a no-win business, and your friends and family have already made their “pity purchases.” You are failing in Mary Kay, but everyone makes you think you’re the only one. You don’t know it yet, but almost everyone fails in MLM because that’s how the system is set up.

Once you stop booking and holding classes, as well as attending Success Meetings, studying, etc., (everything in Stage #1), you start to question the effectiveness of the business. Since you lack Personal activity, you start doubting that the business can really provide for you what everyone else says it can – success, freedom, and peace of mind. You start to think that maybe there’s a better system out there or a better Company. After all, why else would you not be making money and advancing? I couldn’t have anything to do with you! The people that stay in this stage long enough will move into Stage #4.

Once you realize that it is next to impossible to book and hold classes with any real consistency, you get really discouraged. You feel like a loser. What is wrong with you? Why can’t you find women who want to try Mary Kay? They bragged about that product flying right off the shelf. You bought inventory because they convinced you that women buy what the eye sees. But no eyes are seeing your stuff!!!

You also realize that “success meetings” are nothing more than a recruiting pep rally. You learn little at the meetings, and you walk away regretting another few hours away from your husband and children. It’s not worth it.

You start talking to other consultants. You’re both saying some things that you know your director would call “negative.” Yet you know they’re true. She’s having trouble finding people to book and hold classes too? So it’s just not you? Well then who is making all that money that they talk about?

This is when you start to blame the Company, the products and the marketing plan, your Director, your personal situations, because of the lack of personal activity. Most people don’t even realize that they have caused their own demise. Pretty soon, they have convinced themselves that “it’s not for them”, “it doesn’t work”. If this goes unchecked, eventually you will end up jumping ship in search of the next “perfect” opportunity so you can create the same scenario over again. Or worse yet, you’ll remain forever working a job that you hate or living a life of always wanting something more.

The purpose of this is to make you aware that it is necessary to always stay in Stage #1 – The Building Stage – because that is where growth occurs! Our business is a process and so are You! Mary Kay used to say “When you stop growing…you rot!” We all have our setbacks and disappointments, but when you have a goal and are truly working at building a business, the setbacks/disappointments are soon forgotten because you are moving forward!

This is when you decide to search the internet for some answers about Mary Kay, and you find Pink Truth. You start reading the stories of the women there, and you realize you’re not alone. Almost no one is selling this stuff! Those who were “moving up” in their careers ended up with huge credit card debt, accumulated little by little as they placed extra orders to “finish” goals.

This is when it all makes sense. You think back upon the “advice” your sales director gave you, and you start to realize that her number one priority was her commission check and her car.

Your director is pushing you to hold appointments and boost your activity, but when you ask her how many appointments she held, she dodges your question. When you ask her how much product she’s selling, she changes the subject. Could it be that she’s not selling all that much either?

You go back to Pink Truth and read more. The former directors are talking about how little actual product they sold, and how little they actually made, even working “full-time” Mary Kay. Oh wow. You mean it’s all smoke and mirrors?

So how do you get back to Stage #1 if you have gone deep into Stages 2, 3, & 4??!

*Call your Director and schedule a conference call with her.
*Dust off your Career Essentials and spend at least l/2 hour each day reading.
*Attend your very next Success Meeting.
*Set a goal – any goal – large or small – for the week.
*Make a commitment to yourself that you will be a woman of integrity and keep that commitment. Next year at this time, you will be either better or worse than you are right now.

It is impossible that you will be the same.


This is when you realize you are at the point of no return. You can’t unring a bell. You can’t NOT know what you’ve learned from Pink Truth. You know the truth about Mary Kay – it’s a pyramid scheme in which recruiting and frontloading inventory get you ahead. Is this how you want to spend the rest of your working days?


  1. somethingsnotright

    This is the best article I’ve read here yet. I adapted it a little and posted it on my FB page. Hopefully some of the MK ladies who haven’t un-friended and blocked me will read it and see the light!

  2. MLM Radar Detector

    Stage #1: You sell to all your friends and relatives. Some of them actually buy something. You don’t quite realize that all your friends-of-friends have already been invited, so even if you book a new party no one new is left to call who might become “guests” for that party.

    Stage #2: It’s all your fault. “You failed to use the proper booking approach with the guests, yet are surprised that you have no bookings.” You didn’t use the Magic Words. It’s all your fault.

    Stage #3: You lack Personal Activity. You’ve run out of Warm Leads. You’ve been thrown out of Starbucks and Target. People you try to chat up in the elevator run as soon as the door opens. Where else are you supposed to get leads? Your SD won’t tell you; if she had a good source she’d be milking it herself. Remember, it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

    Stage #4: You question the training, products, and marketing plan. The Pink Fog momentarily thins. This is not to be permitted! Listen to your director! You caused your own demise! Your lack of Personal Activity is ALL YOUR FAULT! The sooner you accept it, the sooner you’ll place another inventory order.

    Stage #5: You finally discover the Mary Kay Solution! All you need to stay in Stage #1 is a constant supply of fresh relatives. Get a divorce and a new husband. Wash-rinse-repeat as often as necessary, just like Mary Kay herself did!

  3. Missy

    Raisinberry’s post reminds me of the sayings, “never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides” and “never compare your behind-the-scenes reel to someone else’s highlight reel.”

  4. raisinberry

    It is beyond disingenuous to craft the Stage two scenario as if it is a direct result of a consultants smug disavowal of her “training”. What hor$e$hit.

    Friends of your friends, or their family members who showed for a class, have no reason to support the new consultant in the way that immediate friends and family did. THAT is the reality. Excited customers may book for the hostess credit/to get something free, but they can EASILY cancel when they can not get others to show.

    This IS NOT, due to an IBC derailing her own success, and to be blamed as if it is, is one of the many ways that Mary Kay and NSD’s train their Directors to shift the failure of mlm from the corporation to the consultant.

    The only product that “flies off the shelf” in Mary Kay is the product being tossed into RETURN BOXES.

  5. cindylu

    Sadly I am not the sort of woman who is good at putting on make up on someone else. i.e. giving them advice on colors etc. My director after 15 years was not good at glamour make up either. She also wasn’t all that good at recruiting. She had one director who rarely joined her for anything. The competition when it comes to cosmetics is huge. No one needs a party to buy cosmetics. No one needs the extra hassle of having to host a make up party and bug their busy friends to attend. Fifty years later the word is out on mlm/pyramids and pushy MK sales consultants. Most of us know all about the fake make over and the fake contests. So MK products have become over priced and redundant. Time for MK corporate to close down already.

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