You may have heard how easy it is to earn a Mary Kay car in 3 months. All you have to do is recruit 7 women in the first month, 7 in the second, and 9 in the third. Never mind that almost no one is able to do that in MK.

What if you recruited “only” 3 new women a month?

Everything in Mary Kay depends on the downline. You can’t make a living by selling products, so you must recruit if you want to make this your real job. You have to ignore the fact that your recruits won’t be able to sell a lot of products either. (You’ll actually have to pretend they can!) It is nearly impossible to sell the products consistently at any level that gets you something more than a little extra pocket change. But your director and recruiter have one goal in mind: to get you to order on a regular basis, regardless of what you are selling (or not selling, as the case may be).

Retired NSD Linda Toupin provided the following wisdom on The Value of 3 Personal Recruits a Month. Please understand that the numbers are completely fabricated. Pieces like this are produced with fake information in order to keep recruiters and directors on the hamster wheel. Give them fake numbers and they may just stay on the wheel a little longer, thinking “if only I can get to that level..”

The company average for a new recruits’ first order is $1000.

3 personal new team members @ 26 % commission on $3,000 is $780 a month additional income.

Additional personal recruiting bonuses for the year $3,600

If your 36 new personal new recruits never ordered again your additional income for the year would be $12,960

(The chances are excellent that the additional $3000 a month in production would increase your production bonus on your unit by an estimated additional $300 a month which would add an additional $3600 a year)


If 12 of your recruits quit after their initial order.

If 12 of your recruits ordered an average of $200 a month for a year=$7488 commission.

If 10 of your recruits ordered an average of $650 a month for a year=$20,280 commission

If 2 of your recruits were members of the National Court of Sales=$8320.


This “what if” scenario adds an additional $36,088 to the already $15,360 for a total of $51,448. (without production bonuses figured in.)

It’s so easy, isn’t it? “Just” recruit 3 a month and you’re going to make all sorts of extra money. They forget that the problem is finding enough women who will hold classes, agree to an interview, allow themselves to be talked into signing up, and then order an inventory package.

If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it.


  1. If this were a REAL sales business, initial orders would be small and as the rep gained experience and customers the orders would be bigger. The fact that the BIGGEST order is the first one tells you that there is no long-term success.

    • This! As a sales rep for a manufacturer, selling my products to retail stores, if a new account bought way more than they could sell, there was a good chance they might order little to none in the future because they’re still sitting on that first order. I much preferred them to make a reasonable order based on likely sales expectations, then use that success to get more real estate in their store of other things that would sell as well. Plus most of the time, my success to my employer was based on growth over the previous year. It was a lot of fun finding a new account and working with them to where they became some of my top accounts. They were happy, I was happy, my company was happy. Loading up a new retailer (in MK, the consultant) with too much, only to never sell to them again, is bad business. Unless you’re an MK Director, I suppose.

  2. Ooh, I like how she went with the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rule. 1/3 are in the process of quitting, 1/3 are hanging out in the middle, and 1/3 are moving up. We’ll ignore the fact that this math is also imaginary, at least she stayed consistent.

    Can I work this through using the rest of Mary Kay’s made up math??

    1 of every 5 interviews results in a new recruit. So to get 3/month, you need 15 interviews.

    You should get 2 new interviews from every party. So to get 15 interviews, you should have 30 parties.

    1/2 of all parties hold, so to hold 30 parties, you should book 60.

    1/10 booking attempts results in a party, so to book 60, you should call 600.

    600 NEW LEADS every single month. And that’s using Mary Kay’s imaginary, wildly optimistic math. Tell me again how this is fun, executive income for part time work.

    • 600 a month, using their own numbers. That’s 20 a day. During my busy days at work I get plenty more than that, but THEY come to ME to pay a bill; I don’t have to chase them down and get rejection after rejection. And I’m tired and grouchy at the end of it. Who the hell has the time and mental wherewithal to do that every single day?

      Anyway, if MK wants to fudge the numbers, let’s fudge them right back. My town has about 12,000 people in it. Let’s say that half of them are men, and this is NOT the kind of area where men wear makeup. That leaves us with 6000. Using some made-up numbers, because MK does it so why can’t I, let’s say that 25% are unsuitable Because Reasons, whatever that means in MK fantasyland. So we’re down to 4500.

      4500/600=7.5 so in just over half a year, using MK’s own numbers, you’ve burned through every potential customer in your average suburban town.

      Another thing Linda’s conveniently overlooking is the fact that her made-up numbers will see you through this year, but next year is lurking in wait and what are you going to do then? And the year after that, and after that…

        • To everything, churn, churn, churn,
          There is a season, churn, churn, churn,
          A time to save…For Seminar!
          A time to lust…For your brand new car!
          A time to give up and go find a bar.

          (With apologies to King “The Preacher” Solomon and to The Byrds)

      • In reality, you will have burned through those women in less time than that because they will talk to mother/sisters/aunts/cousins/friends/co-workers about the crazy MK lady and the news will spread.

        • Not to mention MLM already has a stigma thanks to Amway’s reputation and the more recent efforts from the growing base of anti-MLMers on social media (including this site, of course). The pool of folks available to MLM scammers shrinks by the day. Eventually it will be limited to the dishonest folks among us, as well as young adults who have not yet experienced MLM.

          My hope is we eventually get a law passed in the US that MLM reps must keep an accurate P&L ledger for themselves and their down-line as a whole, the summary of which they must share with new recruits. Since every MLM down-line loses money in aggregate, this single requirement would go far to protect vulnerable recruits, and will basically destroy MLM’s marketing viability.

          • “The pool of folks available to MLM scammers shrinks by the day. “

            Yep, and new MLMs are popping up all the time. People still interested in joining an MLM company are looking at CBD, energy supplements, collagen, etc.

            Not makeup remover and beard oil.

      • And subtract the following: every girl under 18; every Avon, Arbonne, Lipsense, etc rep AND all their moms, aunties, sisters & daughters; every granny who has used only Ponds for 70 years and needs nothing; every former MK lady holding a grudge and a garage full of product; every hobby consultant who ordered a starter kit to get the skin care. There’s nobody left!

  3. Being a Mary Kay sales director is so easy, Linda continues to help her daughter Katie with it even though she’s retired as NSD.

    • You mean Katie who wasn’t on the charts but was suddenly number 1 at ruby seminar because Mom retired?

  4. — 1 out of 3 will quit in the first 3 months.
    — 1 out of every 3 who quit will return their inventory.
    — On average, 1/3 of your commission checks will be erased by charge-backs.
    — 1/3 of your friends and family will block your calls and messages.

    • Note the NSD daughters still languishing. Even their NSD moms can’t seem to push them up to “MK Royalty.”

  5. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but there is a mathematical limitation to growing an endless-chain down-line. The “average” down-line size of the reps in every MLM downline must be less than 1. If you add 3 to your own down-line, that means 3 others in your own down-line must have zero. This mathematical constraint cannot be avoided. If someone else in your own down-line adds 10, that means 10 others in your down-line MUST have zero.

    So statements like, “Just add 3 new people to your down-line per month” has a different meaning when you understand that every recruiting success you achieve forces a recruiting failure for someone else in your own down-line. No matter what you do, the average down-line size for the reps in your own down-line can never reach 1.

    The model I shared earlier specifically explains all of this (I hope it’s okay to share it again):


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