Earning a Living While at Home With Your Children

Maybe YOU will be different. YOU could earn a living with Mary Kay while being home with your children. It’s just about working the numbers. What would those numbers be?

The chances of making a real living in Mary Kay are slim to begin with. Even the 2% of current consultants who have supposedly reached the upper levels of success as sales directors…. Most of them aren’t making a real income.

If they’re lucky, they’re like almost all of the directors, they’re making $10,000 to $20,000 per year. That’s not bad if you’re comparing it to a minimum wage job. But in the real world, we don’t exactly call that making a living or having career earnings.

But let’s suppose you believe $20,000 a year is a good living. Can you really earn that while being “at home with your children”?

Here’s the truth: If you want to make that whopping $20,000 or more doing Mary Kay, be prepared to work a minimum of 40 to 50 hours a week. And when I say work, I don’t mean schlepping around in your jammies and making a few phone calls.

The kind of work you’ll be required to do in Mary Kay will have you out in the streets, looking for new blood constantly. You’ll be trolling for new victims and then working to convince them to “get together with a few of their friends.” There will be plenty of prep work for this gathering (the “skin care class”), including phone calls, coaching, pre-profiling, and general administrative work.

If you can get the bookings, be prepared to be up and out of your house for about 3 hours for each appointment. (You didn’t really believe them when they told you it would only take an hour or so, did you?) After that appointment you’ll have follow-up contacts with people as you try to recruit them into Mary Kay.

Now don’t be too worried about the portion of the job that I just described. Not many women these days want to have home parties, so you won’t be burdened too often by having to partake in this. (Although, unfortunately, those parties are where you find new recruits, so if you’re not having parties, you’re not recruiting either, which leads to the dismal earnings mentioned above.)

But wait… you can sell on social media! Spend your time staging the perfect photos that show the perfect MK life (even though you know your reality is nothing like that). Be prepared to message all of your Facebook friends repeatedly about your new promotion, the event you’re having, the sale that is currently on. You’ll get a couple of people who reply, but nowhere near the volume you have been led to believe you would have. Yet another MK activity where you invest a bunch of time and see little return on your effort.

Or you can have virtual parties! This will involve buying sample size products (the cost adds up fast!), assembling packages for each attendee, mailing them out (how much does that cost?), and hoping they show up on the night of the online skin care class.

Don’t forget that you will be busy with weekly unit meetings, NSD guest events, and events with cutesy names (designed to recruit new victims, of course). Don’t forget events sponsored by Mary Kay Cosmetics like seminar and career conference. And of course if you do find potential recruits, you’ll be trying to corner them into meeting with you and “taking care of the paperwork”.

If you or your unit members get one of those unsuspecting victims to sign up with Mary Kay, you have to start a whole round of meetings and/or phone calls and text messages designed to con her into ordering the biggest possible inventory package.

Don’t forget that you’ll also want to have meetings and conference calls with your movers and shakers to try to entice them into “promoting themselves” up the Mary Kay ladder. Your meetings with them are focused on getting them to envy you, “the suit”, the material goods brought to you by Mary Kay, and your superior position as sales director. If you can get them to envy enough, you might just convince them that they want to be you and want to move up. You will need to have women who are trying to get the car and directorship in order to boost your own numbers.

There are many more parts to the Mary Kay “job,” but you get the idea here. There are a ton of things that you’ll be doing, none of which involve being at home with your children. (And if you ARE home with them while you’re doing your MK activities, you’re certainly not paying attention to them.) Mary Kay is not flexible. You will be working it often during prime family time… nights and weekends, when your spouse and children are likely at home and wish you could be with them.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that having your child unpack boxes of inventory from Mary Kay is equal to spending quality time together. Don’t think that “shushing” your child because you’re on the phone means you’re developing a relationship with her or him. Hauling your child with you as you warm chatter women at the mall doesn’t count either.

Mary Kay is all about sacrifices, and your family will be the first to be sacrificed. Sure, you’ll be told that the sacrifice is only short-term, and that your family will appreciate it in the long run. You’ll be told to use your children “as your reason, not your excuse.”

Let’s just be truthful: You can’t really work Mary Kay as a career and be home with your children.


  1. “like almost all of the directors, they’re making $10,000 to $20,000 per year”- BUT that’s before expenses. It’s not $20K into your bank account for you to use.

  2. If MK truly believed in “God first, family second, carreer third” they would not work on or have events on God’s day of rest…Sundays (for Christians, or Saturdays for Jewish/Muslim families). And children/families would be welcome and accommodated for at some MK gatherings.

    Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby put their faith first by giving their employees Sundays off, and that certainly cuts into revenue. I’ve never worked there, but I suspect some of their corporate get-togethers (summer bbq, holiday parties etc.) include kids. Just a guess though. And they don’t have to profess that they put faith first…their actions show it.

    Actions speak much louder than words. Or using biblical vernacular, you judge a tree by its fruit. The Mary Kay tree does not bear good fruit. MK actions are clearly not consistent with MK words. Don’t listen to what they say. Instead, pay attention to what they do.

    What they do is rip off the unsuspecting 99% to enrich the 1%. No amount of hard work can change that ratio, since the system is designed to create this exact result.

    Everyone who works for Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-a makes positive income. 99% of MK participants lose money. And the latter is promoted as a path the financial freedom!

    It is time to cut down the MK tree and throw it into the fire.

  3. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that having your child unpack boxes of inventory from Mary Kay is equal to spending quality time together. Don’t think that “shushing” your child because you’re on the phone means you’re developing a relationship with her or him. Hauling your child with you as you warm chatter women at the mall doesn’t count either.

    On nearly every MLM-Fail YouTube video out there, is one where the Hun is doing her spiel to her camera and there is a child in the back-ground desperately trying to get their mother’s attention. I don’t understand how they can post that and think that it shows how they are working from home and still being present.

  4. When my son was little, I spent more time out of the house some weeks than in it. I worked darn near every day of the week, often for hours at a time. Virtual parties weren’t a thing back then, so if I wanted to see customers, I had to leave the house. I paid my teen sitter cash and products (with her parents’ permission — she loved Velocity, lip glosses, and nail polish), and she made a lot of money from me because I WAS NEVER THERE. Even if I was home and “working,” she came over for a few hours. When he was older and no longer needed a sitter, I still spent a lot of time away from my family, working the MK numbers. It was ridiculous.

    Yes, I sold a lot of products. Yes, I sold at a discount frequently. Yes, I had a large customer base who routinely ordered. No, kiddo didn’t like to help package orders (Legos were more important). No, he didn’t like errand and delivery days (I had to bribe him with something — a Frosty and maybe some new Matchbox cars). Why?? Because my time with him was not focused on him. My time was focued on MK with him as a prop (a la Kristen), showing everyone that I could still be Mommy and work.

    MLMs and small children do not mix. Your focus isn’t on your family and children. Your focus is on the pink dollars and believing that they will make a tremendous difference in the life of your family. In reality, you are sacrificing very precious time with your children that you will never ever get back.

  5. Those ‘expenses’ that are so often overlooked include income taxes. ‘Making’ $20,000 in MK would mean that roughly 4.95% of that goes to state income tax. Assuming she’s married, filing jointly, let’s go with a conservative estimate of 22% for a federal bracket. And that doesn’t take into account ANY other expenses. To actually bring home $20,000 annually would mean she’d have to make a LOT more. True entrepreneurs understand and are willing to put in the extra work to find a good accountant and track actual business expenses (including taxes). I recognize that I’m not one of those people. Give me my daily job where my employer handles business taxes, I have a pension in addition to my retirement contributions, my paycheck is the same every two weeks, fifty percent (or more) tuition discount for my kids, great, affordable health insurance for my whole family, I have several paid holidays annually, and I have four weeks of PTO (after only two years on the job). And in my previous job (same industry–higher ed), they paid for my Master’s degree and my son’s Bachelor’s degree–100%. How in the world could anyone believe that the average person could make an actual profit from an MLM?

  6. Hi, Shauna, I’m not sorry I didn’t quit a JOB and get myself in a ton of debt. I’m not sorry I returned all my inventory you convinced me to buy because you’d quit your JOB. I’m not sorry I was your first quitter because I felt creepy trying to warm chat the lady selling me the pantyhose discount card. Almost 30 years later, I am so not sorry. I don’t have a bunch of stuff, I’m not on a billboard in Times Square, but, I don’t have to hassle people. I can shop in peace. I don’t want your life, never did. I feel sad for you.
    @ShaunaAbbotts, I pray you find a better life, I know you have nothing to do with this post or comments, just needed to get that off my chest. 30 years later, I do still care. Not sorry, but, I still pray for you.


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