Lying About Sales Director Income

The lies about the money made in Mary Kay are rampant. Almost no one makes money in MLM. But they’ll convince you that if you make it to sales director, THEN you’ll be making BIG GIRL MONEY. After all, it’s the top 2% of the company!

This graphic was made about 5 years ago, as evidenced by the sales director suits, but they’re still circulating it. Lies like this are widely circulated, even by NSDs like Dacia Wiegandt, who should know better. Notice they say that sales directors make $5,000 to $25,000 monthly. Even if you assumed you were going to make the lower end of earnings, you would believe you’re going to make at least $60,000 per year as a director. (And that’s before expenses!)

But the truth is that you will mostly likely make MINIMUM WAGE as a sales director. At last count, there were 9,000 sales directors in the U.S.

At least 5,100 of those directors (i.e. more than half of all sales directors) make less than $16,800 per year. If you worked 40 hours per week for 50 weeks out of the year, that’s $8.40 per hour. Don’t let anyone tell you things like “oh they only work part time” or “they make a ton of money from product sales too.” Those are both lies.

About 3,000 sales directors make between $16,800 and $40,800 per year. (Remember: the numbers I’m quoting here are gross commissions BEFORE paying any business expenses.)

Add it all up and you see that 8,100 sales directors (90% of them) make $40,000 or less a year. Most of them much, much less. So the statement that directors make between $5,000 and $25,000 monthly is a blatant lie.

And national sales directors making $25,000 to $150,000 monthly?

Half of NSDs don’t even make $10,000 per month!!! If you take a look at the numbers in this article, you see that in June 2020, 30 Mary Kay NSDs made $25,000 or more, out of about 220 NSDs total. And $150,000 per month? The highest earner in MK is Gloria Mayfield Banks with $124,074. Sure, that’s a lot of money (all made by swindling hundreds of women per month into buying inventory packages), but the point is that the claim in the promo piece is a big lie.

For the millionth time I ask: If the Mary Kay opportunity is so wonderful, why do they have to lie about it?


  1. Ruby Slippers

    My highest check was over 3500. Most checks were between 750-2500 as I remember. I’ll have to take a look at old 1099’s as they included the “FREE” car….. In the total. Any Copays were not reflected in the 1099. Prizes were included. Star prizes are not worth it if you are buying your star. Instapot is $80 for sale and I think it’s on Star prize with a 2400 wholesale order.
    It’s all a lie and a sham. Maybe it does work for some and it does . However, only 2% maybe less make the large checks. Most are breaking even or losing money.
    I am 100% credit card debt free since leaving Mary Kay. My life is better in every way. Except less “friends” as the MK “friends” from 20+ years have all but disappeared.
    Oh well as they say in MK …..NEXT!!!

    1. BestDecision

      Ridiculous! We had to do about $20,000 production to get a $5,000 check. That would mean all Directors are in Cadillacs and doing almost Half Million Unit Clubs.

      Unless you’re doing a lot of personal recruiting and are the only person in you unit doing it, you won’t get a $5,000 commission check without that high of production. The average personal recruiting number per Director per year, according to Sean Key, was less than 1. Directors, in general, don’t recruit like they did as DIQs. So, to say Directors’ income starts at $5,000/month is a HUGE lie.

      1. Mountaineer95

        See, this is the type of undeniable truth that the PT haters don’t try to refute when they attack PT for being Negative Nancys, or Haters, or whatever. NOT A SINGLE ONE has ever tried to refute these figures. Why? If what BestDecision posted here is incorrect, why not PROVE that it’s incorrect?

        Arrggh, it’s so frustrating trying to beat sense into someone who has their fingers plugged in their ears while saying “lalala I can’t hear you”!

  2. Juliet

    Definitely off-topic, but truly, if this piece is circulating for five years, HASN’T ANYONE TOLD THE WRITER HOW TO SPELL EPITOME? “Optimy” – I have seen that in MK training guides but of course, no way to let them know. But wow, seriously – someone in MK HAS to have seen that and known it was wrong and yet here it is. blech.

      1. BestDecision

        I’ll step in here and ridicule the gross ignorance of Directors and NSDs hosting group gatherings right now. I questioned their intelligence then, and now they’re proving it. How exactly is that being Go Give when they could be spreading disease??

        Still can’t believe I associated with these people.

    1. Mountaineer95

      A few days ago, maybe on the discussion boards and not here, someone linked to the site of a director named Amy something (maybe Wilcox? Not sure.)

      She has several blatant MK propaganda fliers that her unit can share, and one of them (maybe the inventory one, I forget) manages to have the word ‘visualize’ misspelled three different ways, in one small document. Like, how? It’s the epitomy of failure to visualize proper grammar whilst writing a training document.

  3. TRACY

    They also forget to mention that the money isn’t consistent. These hotshots like Chelsea Adkins, Rachel Ryan, Ali Zornes etc who recently “won” their Cadillacs? The likelihood that the will keep getting the big commission checks is very low.

    For example, for nearly the entire year after Chelsea bought her way into the Cadillac, she didn’t make minimum Cadillac production on a monthly basis.

    Since Ali Zornes bought her way into the Cadillac in Sept 2019, she still hasn’t made the minimum production on a monthly basis.

    So why do they keep telling themselves this is a real business?

    1. Heather

      Tracy, you are SO right when you mention the money wasn’t consistent. My SD check varied so much each and every month. I had a personal sales goal for each week, just to make sure I had extra cash to cover expenses and crap for the month. Some months would be better than others, especially if I had a new recruit or if the holiday stuff had come out. (I was one of the unusual ones who sold a CRAPLOAD of products Oct-Dec – I almost always sold out of all my holiday stuff. That money went to cover the down months of January-March.)

      Now, I have a consistent paycheck, even though I’m an hourly employee, and if I want a bigger paycheck, I can pick up hours (hellooooo call pay!). There is also PTO, paid sick, and a 403(b) with matching dollars.

      1. BestDecision

        That “crap for the month” is right! You may have had a good check, but how much did you KEEP? This is what they refuse to tell or admit. All those monthly expenses like pins, ribbons, Pearls of Sharing, stamps, copying, postcards, unit meeting rent, prizes/trinkets/crap…just to maintain a unit!

        I tried so hard to stay within the percentage MK taught us for our unit expenses, but it was impossible. Add in our Director suit, conference fees, hotel, travel, chargebacks, quarterly events, Seminar unit awards, monthly promotions, guest event giveaways, props…

        It sure was “crap”. Thank you for that word that so perfectly describes it all.

        1. Heather

          It was impossible to stay within any kind of budget for all of the CRAP you “needed” as a director, especially the “free” training. One year, I decided not to go to leadership because my hubby was scheduled to come home from deployment the week prior. “Why don’t you bring him with you?” is all I heard. Um, no, he’s been away from home for X months, and we would like to stay home together. I saved SOME money that year…

  4. Mountaineer95

    Hey Tracy, I apologize from my recent rages against MLM and MK, not sure why I’m in the mood to really go at them. Maybe it’s because of the blatant lies so many of their “stars” have been spreading lately, as you’ve shown here on PT. I’m sorry if I seem in a tizzy, lol.

    The most recent logical point that came to me (to share with Kaybots and all MLM-ers) is:

    Companies do not promise unlimited numbers of executive positions will be available, no matter how well you perform. They can only have so many Sales Managers, Sales Directors, etc. So to achieve one of these limited positions, you must perform to the standards set, and on top of that must perform over others vying for the same position.

    MLM doesn’t have that last requirement.

    In MLM, anybody who achieves a certain level of parameters will be “promoted” to Whatever Executive Name. There’s no limit, just sell/recruit to the requirements and poof, you’re an executive! So why is this a bad thing?

    MLMs (yes, MK included) tout the possibility of unlimited income (or, maybe just “executive” income). I don’t mean that the companies themselves PROCLAIM that anyone can achieve executive income; most know better than to do that as it might bring legal heat to their businesses. But even if they don’t tout it, their compensation structure clearly shows that anyone can essentially reach the highest level in the (pyramid) structure, if only he or she achieves certain criteria. For example in the MK compensation structure, nowhere does it specify that there can only be x number of NSDs active at any time, right? That alone shows us that technically ANYONE can be an NSD for MK, as long as they meet the criteria.

    An unlimited number of executive positions available? How can any normal company permit this?

    If the possibility existed for ALL employees to be able to obtain a senior level (per MK, NSD-level) position with NO caps on how many people could achieve it, then that company would NEVER have to push its existing employees to recruit new ones; the company wouldn’t have to pursue any hiring at all…

    Word would already be out, for a company of forty years or so, that this executive income is available to anyone. (Albeit, not without very hard work and dedication, as that is for senior executives in any company…the difference being that in every other company there are only a few openings available for those who meet these requirements, but MK is able to offer UNLIMITED positions such as these).

    With this opportunity of UNLIMITED executive positions in MK available, not a single person should have to actively or aggressively “recruit” or “share the opportunity”. The opportunity would already be known far and wide, and recruiting shouldn’t be difficult; rather, you’d be fending them off or at least being selective about who you sign up…stars only!

    …Especially when the company has better brand recognition than Coca Cola.

    …Jokes aside, If this recognizable, established company has unlimited executive positions available that are achievable and pay six figure incomes, then candidates (that’s what we call prospective employees in the real world) would flock in droves to pursue it. Existing representatives would be fielding calls, emails, tweets, and tags non stop. They sure wouldn’t be placing fishbowls for fake drawings in their local Chinese takeout joints.

    But that’s not the case. People are not tripping over themselves to sign up as IBCs. Essentially every current MK person is actively (and sometimes aggressively) seeking new customers and/or recruits. Why? It doesn’t make sense when weighed against the “opportunity” that’s presented.

    NSD is the highest level attainable. And, it’s not a promotion that’s granted or designated by MKC. It is achieved by meeting specific criteria. There is no cap on how many NSDs can exist in MK. It’s not a CEO position (almost every company has one, and that’s already occupied in MK); it’s not a C-Suite position at all. Nor is it a corporate executive sales position (such as Sean Key’s role).

    NSD is NOT an executive position in MK Corp. it’s a designation for the highest producing members of the independent contractors’ population. This fact means that reaching NSD should be much, much easier than becoming an actual CEO in any company. MK already has its Corp CEO. But MK allows for, and wants, as many NSDs as can reach the requirements necessary,

    So since there is NO cap on how many NSDs are permitted in MK, there should be no really good reason why 8,997 out of 9,000 directors can’t achieve it. Sure, we can take out the bad apples, the lazy losers, the ones who dropped out because family/illness/zombies/whatever. But that still leaves THOUSANDS of directors who DO want to get to NSD, and who are told that nothing can prevent them from getting there, if they only try and believe and work and focus and (am I leaving anything out?)

    Statistics don’t lie (and I suck at them but an old friend with a Doctorate in statistics who now works for a three-letter agency confirmed to me once that they do in fact not lie); if nearly 9,000 people are all offered the same upper-level sales management job within the same company, with no restrictions on who or how many can get there other than by performing to the standards and requirements needed for that level as laid out by the employer, and only two or three of that 9,000 can achieve it, then the “opportunity” that any and all of them could achieve it MUST be a lie or a crock or otherwise not as it’s presented.

    Why? Hey, all y’all are welcome to become NSDs, just do XYZ! Why can’t y’all do it? Well, that’s where we dive back into the statistics pool (I’m gonna hang out here by the ladder with my floaties on). No company that sells anything can promise a staff of thousands that every single one of them can advance in level and pay (and not that every one of them has the opportunity to meet the requirements for promotion, but that every single one of them WILL advance IF meet the requirements for promotion.).

    Simply said, if I have a staff of 100 managers, and I have three Executive Manager positions available to be filled from the pool of the 100 current managers, then I’ll have minimum criteria established for what I need the candidate to achieve to be qualified for the higher position, and out of the group that meet the requirements, I’ll narrow down to the three who will be promoted.

    Sounds good, right? This is hiring 101. And also, promoting 101. You have a specific number of positions available based on current business climates, and you only hire for what business climate and needs recommend. This point is crucial in differentiating MLMs from “normal” companies. Normal companies incur costs for every employee they hire, like training etc, while MLMs put ALL of the onboarding costs on their reps (starter kit, anyone?).

    So while normal companies will only hire a certain number of employees due to costs of hiring and onboarding, MLM will “hire” anyone willing to sign the form and pay for the kit. The cost of the kit is carefully chosen so that the MLM doesn’t lose much, if any, money on it, and some probably make a profit on it.

    I apologize for my tangent and appreciate your patience, and I leave you with this:


    *if only you work hard enough 🙂

    1. NayMKWay

      What you’re describing is simply the inevitable consequence of market saturation. If there are more sellers than the market needs, the sellers won’t earn a living wage. They will therefore pass less money up the pyramid.

      The more saturated the market gets, the less worth each recruit brings to the uplines. The upper levels face the same problem as down below: too many mouths; not enough cake. And so on into the uppermost ranks.

      There are too many at EVERY level, not just at the bottom. Those at the bottom outnumber all others combined, and in general suffer more, but things don’t really get much better higher up. Saturation is saturation.

    2. morningstar

      At one time in the 1990’s it was promoted as the Egalitarian approach. Regarding paragraph 16 on statistics. Where everyone has an equal chance.

      I also think it was in the MK book she wrote and her tapes as I recall. Pure brainwashing….

    3. Data Junkie

      Getting all wrapped up in the Mary Kay subterfuge distracts from the underlying mathematical constraints of product marketing that impede success in every MLM. In any MLM, it is mathematically impossible to have even one full direct down-line “rep per rep” (on average) in your down-line. For every rep under a rep, there must be a corresponding rep somewhere in the down-line with zero down-line reps. For example, if you personally have 10 reps directly under you, then no matter how large your down-line is, you must then have 10 corresponding reps somewhere in your downline with zero under them. This is true for every rep in any down-line with reps directly under them. The larger the down-line, the greater the number of reps with zero under them. This constraint is immutable.

      The model below shows the underlying mathematical constraints of this business model. To say that income “potential” is unlimited is bad enough. The reality is the only way to make any money in MLM is to capitalize on the losses below you by building out the bottom…that is, continue to increase the number of folks in your down-line who have zero down-line reps. The most successful MLM folks have the greatest number of reps “at the bottom”.

      While you can’t get around the mathematical limits of this model, you can distract the reps from it by concentrating on other things, such as the unnecessarily convoluted compensation plan, or the theatrics surrounding and on display at “seminar.” Mountaineer95 enumerated many other distractions used in Mary Kay. All of this keeps folks from discovering the underlying flaws of this business model.

      Here is the model, for those who have not already seen it (sorry for the repeat):

        1. Data Junkie

          Very good point. So when you point out the flaws in the recruiting model, they switch to selling. When you show them why you can’t possibly sell Mary Kay’s overpriced products to anyone but one’s closest family and friends, they move to back to recruiting.

          It’s dual marketing! (meanwhile, neither can be profitable)

  5. Lazy Gardens

    The simple math, showing how much $$ cake (or how few crumbs) each participant gets:

    Divide the MLM’s sales volume by the number of reps currently signed up … the BILLIONS in sales divided by the tens of thousands of reps shrinks to a paltry $thousand or so as each rep’s average slice of cake. That’s if no one gets more than one “slice”.

    The sales cake is a fixed size … for each rep bragging about her 20-slice serving, there are 19 reps with empty plates, or more than that with partial-servings.

  6. BestDecision

    My Director didn’t even do Cadillac production last month but still claims she’s going to be an NSD. The average new Consultant order is <$500, and her $30 sign-up momentum has stopped.

    Yet, she preached to me how she was still going to make more money than me when I returned to my career. Nope, another month making more!

  7. BestDecision

    The November Applause states it clearly. In the Top 400 in production are units that didn’t even do Cadillac production, and in the Top 400 commissions is one for $4720, which doesn’t take into account her expenses that month.

    Top 400 units doing $28,518 retail production is less than $14,000 wholesale. Less than Cadillac production. There are Trip and Million Dollar Directors MISSING from those pages. Where are they??

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