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

The Mary Kay Time Commitment

mary-kay-time-commitmentWritten by Anonymous

Mary Kay recruiters and sales directors are notorious for downplaying the time and effort involved in selling Mary Kay. Have you ever been asked if you have a “few hours a week” to devote to Mary Kay? Here’s the real story.

When the Mary Kay opportunity is presented, we’re told we can be successful holding just 2 to 3 classes a week, which will take only 1 to 2 hours each. I’ve seen many, many flyers and handouts detailing two classes a week and how much you’ll sell and recruit, and how by doing this, you’ll win your car and then become a director in so many months.

Based on that information from the Mary Kay recruiter, our perception is that we can do this in 2 or three evenings a week. We see that we’ll have to readjust our schedules but feel that this will be manageable.

The reality is that Mary Kay recruits are never told many things. They’re not told that to hold 2 classes, they will need to book 4 to 6. So instead of being committed to 2 evenings or weekend times a week, the recruiter really has to be committed to at least 4 until the classes start canceling. But until they cancel, the consultant really can’t plan anything else for that time.

Then there are training session, weekly unit meetings, guest events, and company sponsored conferences and seminars that the recruit is strongly encouraged to attend. (Many would say she is strong-armed into attending.) There may be some business sense in attending some of these events, yet they’re usually not mentioned during the recruiting spiel.

So now the Mary Kay recruit has gone from “a few hours a week” to at least 4 or 5 nights a week: 1 for unit meeting, 2 to 4 for classes that should be booked, and possibly one more for another event.

Now grown women and don’t have to go to all these meetings and events if they don’t want to, but they are told by experienced sales directors that these are necessary to one’s success in Mary Kay. And who joins Mary Kay to be unsuccessful?

Then we are told that we can win a car and become a director in 10-12 hours a week. Our meeting (2-3 hours), and 2-3 classes (5-9 hours, including drive time). And maybe a little time a week for paperwork.

We’re NOT told that in addition to the classes (which we now know we have to commit to four instead of two), there’s also stalking time and phone time. In order to hold any classes, you need to find willing victims. That means all manner of stalking, trying to find new people who are willing to book with you. At first, you may have family and friends willing to help you and have a party. But once you’re through them, you need new blood, which means stalking women.

If you can get women to book, then it makes sense that you will have to follow up via phone or text to confirm. But there’s more to the phone/text time than that. If you want to have a good class, you will “coach” the hostess, get her guest list, and contact all the guests.There are also follow-ups after classes, and additional attempts at selling products and booking more classes.

All of this phone/text/e-mail time isn’t explained to recruits, and is conveniently ignored when woman are raving about how much they made “per hour” selling Mary Kay.

Oh, and if someone appears interested in the business, we need to schedule an interview with them in the next 24 hours, 48 at the most. Plus there’s the prep time for the class. Even if you have a great system, you still have to replenish supplies, applicators, facial cloths, etc sometime. We need to make time to pack up product, go to the post office and mail orders, or take the time to drive to the customer’s house to deliver. You have to go the bank, do the books, etc. Plus unpacking and labeling your orders (I know they say have your kids or a neighbor girl do it, but that’s not always feasible) You say, this is all part of a selling business. But it takes a lot more than 10-12 hours a week. And you’re not told any of this until after you sign, and usually until after you’ve put in your inventory order.

We eventually find out that when it comes to going for director, we need to turn into a recruiting machine, meaning holding appointments and interviews every chance we get and quickly. When you’re in DIQ, you never hear that you can do this in 2-3 appointments a week. You hear 5-6, plus 8-10 interviews. You hear about short-time sacrifice of all your time (I know you’ll supposedly reap the rewards but you never heard about the sacrifice when you were recruited), that you need to think about nothing but MK until you make it. Again, it makes sense, but it’s not what we were told.

So a woman comes in excited, she can manage 2-3 times a week, 10-12 hours. She decides she will go to her meeting on Monday, and book classes on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. Two evenings a week and one weekend slot. She can do that. She’ll enjoy it. From those classes, she’ll make money and find at least 1 recruit in each class. And she’ll win a car in maybe 6-7 months, and become a director in a year or so.

Then she finds that half of her classes will cancel, so she needs to now additionally book Tuesday evening and Sunday afternoon. Her week now looks like this:

Sunday evening – do coaching, get guest lists, contact guests, ask people to go to her meeting to be a model for her, or if they would like to go to hear a National Director speak Friday night where they’ll be door prizes, etc. She’ll also give them a little gift for going (there’s also a special training by this NSD Saturday) Yes, it might only take 30-45 minutes to make these contacts, but she wasn’t planning to work on Sunday nights.

Monday, her meeting.  She confirms her guest and if she still is going, pick her up and drive her home after the meeting. Also, before the meeting, try to get a hold of some of the guests of your classes that you weren’t able to reach Sunday, or people for the recruiting event.

Tuesday. She pack ups, does her class. She gets one definite booking and one maybe. Her hostess friend seems interested in the business, but can’t go to the recruiting event Friday. So, even though the consultant was going to make a few phone calls/emails tomorrow evening and then relax, she gives her friend some information and sets up an interview with her instead. The consultant didn’t have a couple of items with her that people ordered, so when she gets home, she needs to pack them up for mailing.

Wednesday. During her lunch, she runs to the post office to mail the product, and then to the bank to make her MK deposit. She only has 30 minutes, so she has to hurry. But the lady at the bank asked about her MK check and she got the lady’s name to call her for an appointment. After work, she goes and does her interview. Her friend wants to think about it some more. Even though she’s only gone about an hour or so, she’s now been away from home three nights in a row. When she gets home, she knows she needs to make a few more contacts, but just can’t make herself do it.

Thursday. Her class cancels. At least they called. Deep down she’s relieved. Even though all she wants to do is crash and spend time with her family, she contacts a few people to either confirm or try to get another guest for the recruiting event tomorrow night. She really, really wants this to work. She told her director about her interview and the director suggested she follow up with her friend again tonight. But the consultant thinks she’s being a pest, so she doesn’t. And then she wonders if she lost her because of not following up.

Friday. She has three guests for the recruiting event. She had to leave really early because she was picking them up. She’s kind of upset when she leaves the house because her kids are upset that she’s gone again, and her husband is trying to be supportive but is slightly aggravated that she’s (1) now been gone four nights this week, (2) all she’s made is a profit of $125 at Tuesday’s class; and (3) that she’s committed all day Saturday (training and a class) to be gone too. At the event, one of your friends sign. You’re elated.

Saturday. She really doesn’t want to leave home. But this is a very successful NSD and the consultant knows she needs the training. Her husband is slightly aggravated again when he finds out the training costs $25. She explains it’s to help cover the costs and meal, but all he can see is that she’s been gone four nights, she’ll be gone all day, she’s only made $125, and $25 of that is going for this training. He doesn’t think about the expense of gas money, postage, and the free products you gave to your friend for interviewing and the guests that went with you last night. She goes to the training, she’s motivated, she’s excited. But also slightly worried. She hears she really needs to hold 3-5 classes a week to get the car or to become a director. She hears that you really need to get the car done in four months instead of the eight she was planning because half of her consultants will drop out. She hears that she always needs to follow-up within 24 hours of an interview or when she gets someone’s name from warm chattering (she still hasn’t called friend back that she interviewed earlier this week or the lady from the bank). She hears that she should try to get 5-10 names a day from strangers. She initially freaks out on that one, but then thinks, well, maybe that’s what it takes. She hears that she needs to make MK a priority and that anything that doesn’t get her to her goal should be eliminated. You mean like girl scouts? Like choir practice? She goes to the wonderful luncheon, but has to skip the afternoon training because of her class. She gets there and the house is empty She goes home and, even though she needs to follow up with the friend she interviewed, follow up with the people from Tuesday’s class to see if they have questions, straighten out her stuff and check supplies for tomorrows class, she doesn’t do any of it.

Sunday, again. She goes to church. Rushes home, checks her packing for her class, she’s feeling really pushed and hurried to have everything ready. The class is good, about $400. One person books and another agrees to go to her meeting with her tomorrow. She interviews the hostess and the hostess signs up for personal use. On the way home, she thinks about how she only has 3 bookings this week and two next week. Maybe she does need to get 5-10 names a day, but when? She gets home. Someone called and left an order on her voicemail. Her husband feels bad about questioning her and has planned a special evening. He’s fixing supper, and he and the kids rented a movie they know she’s been wanting to see. She sits there thinking about how she needs to contact all the guests from the class she had 5 days ago to see if they like the product or have questions, follow up with her friend about the interview she had 4 days ago, call the lady from the bank who’s name she got 4 days ago, text her friend who signed at Friday’s event to make sure she’s going to the meeting tomorrow, put an order together as she doesn’t have all the product that was ordered at today’s class, pack up the product from the phone order for mailing tomorrow during lunch, and she really needs to try to get some bookings. She’s stuck. She’ll feel guilty about her family if she does the MK instead of spending time with them. She’ll feel guilty about the MK if she doesn’t do that. And if she doesn’t do the MK stuff tonight, when? She has her meeting tomorrow and a class Tuesday. She can’t put this stuff off for three more days. She really wants this to work, but is starting to wonder if she can do it.

I think the above is a very realistic scenario. And very few women who came in for just 2-3 evenings a week will change to the above. They may try for a while, but it just takes up too much of their time, energy, family time, etc.. Some will. But they’re the exception. And even if they put in the time, they are soon faced with the reality that there is little to no profit in Mary Kay, even if they’re lucky enough to make it to director.


  1. Jacirene

    Mudar para português
    And after all the superhuman effort to balance the MK Circus Bamba string, your Senior will ask your contact list to “help” you in your business when in fact she will try to recruit all of them, including her clients and family. Then it will be mired in debt, with marriage in crisis and products on the shelf that are never sold. Unfortunate!
    “Sorry. I’m using Google translate!”

  2. enorth

    “weekly unit meetings”

    Pay $10 to attend each meeting, bring guests (or prepare to be shamed), bring snacks and drinks, arrive early to help decorate and set up, stay late to help clean up. Sounds like fun.

  3. Burnnurse

    Great post, my Director told me she earned her first car in 12 hours a day. After I joined and had inventory the director reported at a unit meeting she earned her first car in 20 hours a week. She lied so much it was difficult for her to keep things straight. I was not willing to sell to strangers or let my Director have access to the military base functions. She only recruited me despite my objections because my husband is in the military. She ended up painting a false picture of how easy it is the products fly off the shelves. I believed it because I sold Avon and just put out the brochures at work and people bought it. I thought I would put the brochures out for MK at work and let people order, no pressure. Unfortunately I let myself be talked into buying $1800 in inventory before I realized that no one I knew wanted to buy MK. I had no warm market. I was not willing to pressure friends, family or strangers to buy from me. Thank God I found Pink Truth and returned my inventory. The had more family time not going to the stupid unit meetings and no stress to figure out how to sell that crap.

  4. enorth

    Don’t forget the Sunday night Zoom video calls. The SD doesn’t like when you just use a static thumbnail-photo, she needs to see you “live” to make sure you are paying attention.

  5. NewFreedom2018

    This was me. Minus the kids and husband. I found myself in the same position being pulled in two different directions – Mary Kay or my personal life. I felt guilty for not working Mary Kay and I felt guilty for not doing what I wanted/enjoyed most of the time.

  6. enorth

    Three-hour round trip to a party with the host and three guests. Host makes a pity purchase and gets her hostess gift. Guests get MK freebies and game-prizes and then leave. Your up-line tells you, “Well, it happens. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep pushing. Book more parties, don’t be negative.”

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